Deal for solar plants in occupied Western Sahara signed at COP22
Article image

Morocco has selected Saudi company ACWA Power to develop 100 MW of solar power in occupied Western Sahara. The deal was inked at the UN's Climate Conference, COP22.

Published 16 November 2016

Yesterday, at what Moroccan media refers to as 'a ceremony at COP22', Saudi-Arabia's ACWA Power signed an agreement with the Moroccan Agency for Solar Energy (MASEN) to develop and operate a complex of three power stations Solar photo-voltaic (PV) totaling 170 MW.

Two of those power stations, totaling 100 MW, will however not be located in Morocco, but inside the territory that Morocco has largely illegally occupied since 1975; the Non-Self-Governing Territory of Western Sahara, also known as Africa's last colony. 

The 170 MW deal, referred to as the Noor PV (Photo-voltaic) program, follows an international call for tenders, in which 20 consortia - grouping together 37 international firms - competed. The Noor PV 1 program comes with a price tag of US $ 220 million. The programme foresees in the development of an 80 MW solar plant in El Aaiun, called the Noor Laâyoune (Moroccan spelling of Western Sahara's capital city) and another 20 MW plant in Boujdour, the Noor Boujdour. The remaining 70 MW will be added to the Ouerzazate solar plant.

"We condemn Morocco's increasing energy infrastructure programmes in the territory it holds under occupation. Despite being remarkably green, they are fundamentally dirty, contributing to the upholding of the occupation", Erik Hagen of Western Sahara Resource Watch (WSRW) stated. 

On 2 November, WSRW published a report on Morocco's renewable energy programmes in Western Sahara, which entrench the occupation by deepening Morocco's ties to the occupied territories. By 2020, more than a quarter of the green energy produced by Morocco will be located in areas under military occupation. No less than 40% of Morocco's solar capacity will then come from Western Sahara.

Earlier this month, former UN Legal Counsel Hans Corell slammed Morocco's renewable energy plans in Western Sahara. "If one uses the territory of Western Sahara for the benefit of Morocco and for foreign enterprises, without properly consulting the people of Western Sahara or ensuring that they are the ones profiting from the wind energy, it will be in violation of international law and UN principles for responsible business”, he stated to Danish media. Former chief commander of the UN Mission in Western Sahara, Danish Kurt Mosgaard, fears that the energy infrastructure could contribute to prolong the conflict

ACWA Power specializes in power generation and water desalination, and has worked for the Moroccan government before at the giant Ouerzazate solar plant, located in Morocco proper. 

No state in the world recognises the Moroccan annexation of the territory.
 

Importer in Brazil stops conflict rock purchases

The Chinese company China Molybdenum - which imported phosphate rock to its subsidiary in Brazil - will no longer purchase phosphate rock from occupied Western Sahara. 

14 October 2021

Siemens Gamesa insists that occupied Western Sahara is Morocco

The Spanish company today, yet again, refers to the territory as part of Morocco.

07 October 2021

Report: Morocco uses green energy to embellish its occupation

By 2030, half of Morocco's wind energy production could be generated illegally in occupied Western Sahara. Yet, Morocco presents itself as best-in-class on the energy transition. 

06 October 2021

Enel failed the test

The Italian company Enel is one of the firms that have taken the exact same approach as the EU when carrying out ‘stakeholder consultations' in Western Sahara - a procedure now found invalid by the EU Court of Justice. 

05 October 2021