Morocco’s state power and water utility, Office National de l’Electricité et de l’Eau Potable – Branche Electricite (ONEE-BE), has selected a consortium of Portugal’s Consultores de Engenharia e Ambiente (COBA) and local engineering group Conseil, Ingénierie et Développement (CID) to carry out studies for the development of a 300 MW pumped-storage plant in El Menzel in northern Morocco.
Under a first contract valued at €838,044 (US$ 951 820) (exclusive of VAT) the consortium will: analyse previous studies and define the hydraulic schematic including the upper and lower basins as well as the optimal electro-mechanical equipment for the project; evaluate the possibilities of a floating solar PV or wind power system to provide renewable energy for pumping; and, carry out all the topographical and geological surveys necessary for the best sizing studies and calculate estimated project costs. Under a second contract, valued at Moroccan Dirhams MAD 3.343 million (US$ 356 954), the consortium will establish a detailed preliminary design of the variant selected and the technical specifications for the procurement of the civil works and equipment.
The preparatory studies for the project in Sefrou Province, in the region of Fès-Meknès, including an Environmental and Social Impact Assessment (ESIA) are being financed by Germany’s development bank, KfW, alongside the European Investment Bank, and the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD). The El Menzel pumped-storage facility would be the third of its kind in Morocco. The Afourer pumped-storage station in Azilal Province, which consists of two power stations with a combined installed capacity of 465 MW, was commissioned in 2004. The 350 MW Abdelmoumen pumped-storage plant is being constructed on behalf of owner-operator ONEE by a consortium of France’s Vinci Construction and Andritz Hydro (see H&D Issue 1, 2018). The US$ 340 million project, on the River Issen, in the province of Taroudant, some 70 km northeast of the southern coastal city of Agadir, is expected to be commissioned in 2023.