Moroccan King’s wind farm project on occupied land gets thumbs down
Article image

Norwegian company DNV, certified by the UN Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) to evaluate projects seeking CDM-funding, has issued a negative opinion on the Moroccan King’s envisioned windfarm project in occupied Western Sahara – precisely for taking place in a politically controversial area.

Published 23 July 2012

The Norwegian company Det Norske Veritas (DNV) has stated in Norwegian newspaper Bistandsaktuelt 19 July that they’ve given the Foum El Oued Windfarm project the thumbs down. DNV had been assigned by CDM to check whether the project was eligible for receiving carbon credits - something which the project’s operators, Nareva Holding, had applied for.

Through CDM, companies may receive emission credits for projects involving renewable energy in developing countries. These credits can subsequently be sold. To be approved, the project must first be evaluated by a company accredited by CDM. 

Stein B. Jensen at DNV Climate Change Services recounts that they originally believed that the wind park was to be built in southern Morocco, but after a while began to suspect that this was not the case.

“When we visited the project, it became clear that our suspicions were justified. It was therefore fairly simple on our part. In January we disclosed that we would be negative to the project. When a customer is informed of this, they can choose whether to continue with the negative recommendation or cancel the project. In this case they chose to cancel, as most do,” Jensen related to Bistandsaktuelt, a paper covering foreign aid issued, owned by the Norwegian government’s agency for development aid. 

The controversial project was officially annulled in April 2012, according to Bistandsaktuelt. Yet the Foum El Oued windpark is still listed in CDM’s project database. Jensen explained that this is due to the slowness in updating the UN’s web pages.

Western Sahara Resource Watch is still awaiting an answer from the CDM Board regarding its queries on the project.

Several other Moroccan-led projects in occupied Western Sahara are still up for assessment by CDM, including a solar energy project to further the illegal fisheries industry.

Erik Hagen of The Norwegian Support Committee for Western Sahara is uncertain whether the consultancy firms that have to approve the projects have sufficient understanding of what is happening in Western Sahara and believes the question must be clarified principally by CDM.

“Siemens turns out not to be a unique case. We appreciate to learn about DNV’s attitude and this will hopefully set the standard for future CDM applications in the occupied territories. But we can not take it for granted that all certification companies will reach the same conclusion. CDM must in principle clarify that a state can not have CDM projects in areas that lie outside their internationally accepted borders,” Hagen stated to Bistandsaktuelt.

Read a complete English translation of the Bistandsaktuelt article here. 

Though no longer running for CDM-endorsement, the controversial Foum el Oued project can still proceed. The project is to be operated and managed by Nareva Holding, a Moroccan industrial and financial group controlled by the King of Morocco. German multinational Siemens AG has been contracted to supply the wind turbines and technical know-how to the project.

Report: Moroccan green energy used for plunder

At COP22, beware of what you read about Morocco’s renewable energy efforts. An increasing part of the projects take place in the occupied territory of Western Sahara and is used for mineral plunder, new WSRW report documents.

02 November 2016

Moroccan King's wind farm in occupied land now carbon credited approved

One year ago, a wind farm project that Morocco is undertaking in occupied Western Sahara was turned down when seeking to obtain UN-sponsored carbon credits. Now, that same project has been approved by another, private credit issuing agency.

23 September 2013

Energia verde per sostenere l'occupazione nel Sahara Occidentale

L'associazione Western Sahara Resource Watch ha pubblicato oggi stesso un rapporto che descrive come il Marocco intenda costruire impanti di energia rinnovabile di più di 1000 MW (megawatt) nel Sahara Occidentale, un territorio che il Marocco occupa parzialmente.

29 August 2013

Green energy to uphold occupation in Western Sahara

Western Sahara Resource Watch has today launched a report detailing how Morocco intends to build over 1000 MW (megawatts) of renewable energy plants in Western Sahara, a territory that Morocco partially occupies.

28 August 2013