Dutch-Belgian firm to build conflict wind farm

To be developed in partnership with the energy firm owned by Morocco’s new prime Minister, the project raises the occupied territory’s share in Morocco’s wind energy generation to 52.25% by 2030.

03 November 2021

On 12 October, Africa Intelligence uncovered the ‘secret wind turbine project’ of Morocco’s new prime minister Aziz Akhannouch: a 200 MW wind farm originally planned for Safi, in Morocco proper, is now to be developed in Dakhla, along the coast of occupied Western Sahara. The news outlet reports that so far the project has not been mentioned by the Moroccan government or its financial backers. It is today still listed as the Safi Wind farm on the website of the Moroccan Ministry for Energy [or download].

The project was included in Western Sahara Resource Watch's report “Greenwashing Occupation”, published on 6 October, as the Safi wind farm. WSRW had then calculated that the share of Morocco’s wind energy generation in occupied Western Sahara would reach 47.2% by 2030. The change of location of this particular wind farm from one side of the Morocco-Western Sahara border to the other, means that Western Sahara will provide 52.25% of Morocco’s wind power generation by that time.

Reportedly in charge of developing the farm is Belgian company Windvision NV.

"It is baffling to learn that a company claiming to operate sustainably decides to build such a project on occupied land. We call on Windvision to abide by the principles outlined by the EU Court of Justice, and stop this grotesque project", stated Sara Eyckmans of Western Sahara Resource Watch, referring to the recent ruling of the EU Court of Justice annulling two EU-Morocco bilateral agreements for being applied to the territory of Western Sahara without the express consent of the UN-recognised representative of the Western Sahara people.

WSRW sent a letter to Windvision on 18 October, asking whether the allegations by Africa Intelligence could be confirmed and if so, what steps the company had taken to obtain the consent of the people of Western Sahara. No reply was received.

In 2018, is a subsidiary of Windvision called Compagnie Marocaine des Energies (CME) obtained a licence from the Moroccan Ministry for Energy for the development of a 200 MW wind farm in Safi. A company named CME Windfarm Safi was set up to develop the project. But CME failed to complete the necessary financial arrangements before the licence expired in February 2021. 

A company called Windvision Safi Holding BV is registered in The Netherlands.

In March 2021, Moroccan firm Green of Africa (GoA) bought a 70% majority stake in the company CME Windfarm Safi, which was renamed to GoA Dakhla shortly after. According to CME’s CEO, the Moroccan Ministry for Energy has approved the change of location and has extended the licence until 2023. 

Green of Africa is a renewable project developer with powerful owners. The firm is part of Akwa holding company, property of Morocco’s new billionaire prime Minister Aziz Akhannouch. Co-owning the firm are two of Akhannouch’s friends: banker Otham Benjelloun of BMCE Bank of Africa and Mustapha Amhal of the Amhal Group. While Green of Africa was set up in 2015, its portfolio remains empty to date. The Dakhla wind farm will thus be the company’s first endeavour, guided by the firm’s CEO Ahmed Nakkouch, appointed in 2019 and former head of Nareva – the renewable energy firm owned by the king of Morocco.

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