Siemens launches controversial project in occupied Western Sahara
Article image

Siemens Energy has initiated a dangerous path for its internationalization strategy. Beginning of February, the company secured its first wind turbine orders on land occupied by Morocco.

Read also: Danwatch: Siemens’s Danish Division Signs Contract to Occupied Land

Published 15 February 12

The Moroccan company Nareva Holding and German company Siemens signed a contract for the delivery of a total of 44 wind turbines for the plant of Haouma - close to Tanger in the north of Morocco - and the plant at Foum El Oued. Siemens claims that the Foum El Oued delivery was to a place "9 km south east of the port of Laâyoune in Southern Morocco."

What is not stated in the press release from Siemens [or download] is that the latter is in fact located close to El Aaiun, the capital of Western Sahara, occupied by Morocco since 1975.

"These two orders show that the internationalization strategy of Siemens is successful," stated Felix Ferlemann, CEO of the Siemens Wind Power Division. 

Western Sahara Resource Watch, however, finds Siemens’s activity in Western Sahara troublesome. 

“Siemens’s investments in plant Foum El Oued must be stopped. The Saharawi people, the real owner of the land, haven’t been consulted. Nareva Holding is a Moroccan company that should not negotiate with goods and land that it does not itself own”, stated Erik Hagen of Western Sahara Resource Watch. 

“The military presence of the Moroccan armed forces in the Saharawi windy areas could provide for protection of Siemens renewable energy business but that will hardly prove to be sustainable. Siemens should reconsider its values and ethics before contributing to support a regime with no legal rights to the territory - a regime which carries out severe human rights violations against the people of the territory where the Siemens wind project will be located”, stated Hagen.

At the moment, Morocco is the second biggest market for wind turbines in Africa, after Egypt. The Moroccan Electricity National Company has planned more investments in this energy branch for the coming years and some weeks ago has announced another international contest for providing 850 windy MW. 

Sneak peek on ENGIE's position

For a little while, ENGIE had published on its website hints about who it had actually "consulted" when doing business in occupied Western Sahara.

15 February 12

HeidelbergCement takes side in the conflict

The German building materials giant sides with Morocco in the Western Sahara conflict, avoiding any questions on its own legal obligations in the occupied territory.

15 February 12

Telecom cables laid in occupied waters

The French company Alcatel Submarine Networks SpA, partially owned by Nokia, has laid telecom cables in occupied Western Sahara. 

15 February 12

Report reveals clients of Western Sahara’s conflict mineral

India and New Zealand stand out as the main importers of phosphate rock from occupied Western Sahara, in WSRW’s newest annual report on the controversial trade. 

15 February 12