UPDATE 2-Morocco preselects four of 19 groups for solar plant

* Four groups preselected for phase I of 500 MW solar plant

* They include Abengoa Solar, Solar Millennium and Taqa

* Lockheed Martin and Alstom among rejected bidders

(Adds background, byline)

By Zakia Abdennebi

RABAT, Dec 29 (BestGrowthStock) – Morocco has preselected four out
of 19 consortia that presented bids to develop the first phase
of a 500 megawatt solar energy project in the south of the
country, the agency managing the project Masen said.

Masen named the four preselected consortia as:

– Abeinsa ICI, Abengoa Solar, Mitsui (8031.T: ) and Abu Dhabi
National Energy Co (TAQA.AD: ).

– Enel (ENEI.MI: ) and ACS SCE

– International Company for Water and Power (ACWA), Aries IS
and TSK EE

– Orascom Construction Industries (OCIC.CA: ), Solar
Millennium (S2MG.DE: ) and Evonik Steag

(For the full text of Masen’s press release:
http://www.masen.org.ma/upload/news/Masen_OZZ_RFQ_Pre-Qualified_en.pdf)

The prequalification process was to select independent power
producers that would design, finance, build, operate and
maintain a thermal solar plant in the southern city of
Ouarzazate.

The 15 rejected consortia comprised among other firms GE Oil
& Gas, Alstom Power, Mitsubishi Corp (8058.T: ), SNC-Lavalin Inc.
(SNC.TO: ), International Power (IPR.L: ), Lockheed Martin (LMT.N: ),
JGC Corp (1963.T: ), Daewoo Engineering (047040.KS: ) and Nareva
Holding, owned by a company in which the Moroccan royal family
is the biggest shareholder.

Masen said it would send pre-qualified bidders requests for
proposals towards the end of January 2011.

Plans call for the Ouarzazate unit to start off as a 125
megawatt unit and then undergo gradual upgrades to reach 500 MW
before the end of 2015.

This first phase of the Ouarzazate solar complex will be
based on Concentrating Solar Power parabolic trough
technologies.

Ouarzazate’s 500 MW solar plant is the first in a national
$9 billion solar power programme that is projected to include
five power stations to account for 38 percent of the country’s
installed power generation capacity by 2020.

The plan is vital to a country that has no oil or gas of its
own and aims to diversify its exports to an energy-hungry trade
partner, the European Union.

Moroccan authorities are betting on demand for the clean
energy that will be generated by the Desertec project, a 400
billion euro ($494 billion) EU plan to use solar power from the
Sahara desert to supply 15 percent of Europe’s power by 2050.

Morocco aims to export surplus electricity to Europe via
Spain, where it has a power market trading licence that allows
it to sell electricity.

In preparation for exporting the electricity to Europe,
Morocco’s power utility ONE doubled the capacity of its
interconnector to Spain to 400 MW in 2007.
(Editing by Keiron Henderson)

UPDATE 2-Morocco preselects four of 19 groups for solar plant