Another controversial wind farm - Aftissat II - is about to be finalised in occupied Western Sahara.
PHOTO: The first part of the Aftissat wind park is already finished. This picture shows the “Aftissat 1”, taken in 2021. @APSO. Now, the sequel, Aftissat II, is near completion.
On 16 May 2023, a team leader of the Moroccan king's company Nareva posted a video on LinkedIn showing windmills spinning in the desert. “Aftissat WF 416 Mw soon inshallah”, the representative stated. A launch could be not far away.
Western Sahara Resource Watch (WSRW) has compiled the information that is publicly available from the construction of the new controversial Aftissat II wind farm, built by Morocco on land that it keeps under illegal occupation. A reverse chronology of the events can be viewed below.
Aftissat II is a 200 MW extension that will double the capacity of the already operational Aftissat I wind farm, located about 50 km south of the coastal town Boujdour.
It was the American company General Electric (GE) that was contracted in September 2021 to install the 200 MW extension dubbed Aftissat II, through 40 turbines with a nominal capacity of 5 MW. GE received the contract from Energie Eolienne du Maroc (EEM), a subsidiary of Nareva – the Moroccan monarchy’s wind energy company.
The development has, paradoxically, taken place at the same time as General Electric proudly states that “GE employees around the world have stepped up to serve in the wake of the Russian invasion of Ukraine.” In Western Sahara, on the other hand, General Electric is aiding the occupier. WSRW wrote to the company on 5 October 2021, 10 November 2021 and 15 May 2023 and has to this point only received this response of 20 October 2021.
WSRW has identified the following companies as taking part in the works on Morocco's illegal wind farm on the territory that it holds under occupation:
All companies involved systematically refer to the location of the windpark as in “Morocco”. None of the companies refer in their social media to the correct location of the plant.
There are several problematic aspects related to Morocco's illegal energy projects outside of its national borders. See a complete inventory and dilemmas of the industry in WSRW's 2021 report ‘Greenwashing Occupation'.
The energy produced on occupied land increases Morocco’s dependency on the territory that it occupies. As such, the projects fundamentally undermine the UN peace efforts in Western Sahara directed towards allowing the expression of the right to self-determination of the Saharawi people. The energy is used by industries that plunder the territory's non-renewable resources, and provides job opportunities attracting more settlers from Morocco. It may also, in time, be exported abroad, including to the EU.
Wind turbines for the 200 MW Aftissat extension have been shipped into the territory since probably June 2022.
Documentation of the conclusion of the Aftissat II project:
20 May 2023, the Moroccan company IslahWind works on the project.
16 May 2023, team leader of EEM/NAREVA posts a video of the finished windpark, stating “AFTISSAT WF 416Mw soon inchallah”
16 May 2023, Moroccan company Eurogrues posted that the so-called BTS-Tower section was being erected.
13 May 2023, Eurogrues specifies the use of Liebherr equipment.
10 May 2023, the company PSA Wind Services posted on LinkedIn that its mission was “completed”.
10 May 2023, SOMALEV's deputy manager announces that their work is finished.
10 May 2023, SOMALEV posted a story on the same matter, saying mission is “completed”
4 May 2023, a representative of the Danish company FairWind announced that the work is coming to completion as the “last turbine” was being erected.
3 May 2023, a FairWind representative tells that the end of the construction is just around the corner.
5 February 2023, a Somalev staffer explains that Liebherr Mobile and Crawler Cranes are being used.
29 January 2023, a Somalev crane operator tags Liebherr Group.
11 January 2023, the Turkish company Ceymaksan are part of the project.
6 January 2023, a Somalev member posts a photo with a crane of the Liebherr Group.
10 December 2022, a Moroccan subsidiary of the French company Clemessy announced that it had taken part in the project.
5 December 2022, NAREVA shows the first of the windmills erected (which had been assembled a few months earlier).
5 December 2022, “line three” of windmills had been kicked off, according to a General Electric staff.
By 30 November 2022, the first line of the GE project had been completed, according to a technician from the company TorkCheck Wind Turbine Service and Consulting CO, based in Izmir, Turkey.
1 November 2022, a technician of Resgreen Maroc posts a video from the top of one of the windmills.
27 October 2022, the fifth windmill was being erected according to TorkCheck.
27 October 2022, the sixth windmill was being erected, according to TorkCheck.
27 October 2022, TorkCheck announces its work in what it erroneously refers to as “Morocco”:
24 October 2022, a General Electric representative is present in the territory.
17 October 2022, FairWind is proud that its first windmill has been completed "in Morocco".
12 October 2022, Turkish company TorkCheck announces that now two turbines have been erected.
On 19 September 2022, TorkCheck posted that the first Cypress 2 model wind turbine had been assembled.
18 September 2022, a General Electric supervisor announced that a first main installation had been completed. The same post identifies the exact locations of the three mills:
25.718338 N, 14.495786 W
25.718497 N, 14.496860 W
25.718313 N, 14.497151 W
18 September 2022, Eurogrues explains that the first turbine has just been assembled.
15 September 2022, the same Clemessy representative posted from Aftissat 2, stating that some of the work was done under supervision of Hitachi Energy.
12 September 2022, PSA Wind Services posted an update on Facebook. The green logo of the Moroccan royal company “EEM” can be seen on one of the pictures.
1 September 2022, Eurogrues explains that the project is progressing.
30 August 2022, PSA Wind Services is about to install the first tower section.
15 August 2022, Lasarte trucks seen transporting mast elements direction Aftissat.
11 August 2022, NAREVA explains that the Aftissat II work has just begun
27 July 2022, UK company Welding Alloys staff took part in the construction.
26 July 2022, General Electric staff announced that it had started with the installation of the first unit.
4 July 2022, Spanish media reported [or dowload] that windmill components were being transported from the port of Almería to occupied Western Sahara. Though mentioning the name of the vessel shipping the components – the BBC Balboa – reports did not include any further details about the final destination of the parts or which company had produced them.
4 July 2022, the Moroccan company Eurogrues posted an update on LinkedIn regarding the transportation on behalf of GE Renewable Energy
2 July 2022, Somalev announced that the preparations were on their way.
21 June 2022, The Spanish logistic company Lasarte, specialising in road transport for exceptionally sized goods, announced that they had started unloading windmill parts in the port of El Aaiún – the capital of occupied Western Sahara – for the Aftissat II wind farm.
20 June 2022, Fairwind staff is standing in front of ABB equipment, announcing that they are working on “Poste électrique 200MW AFTISSAT II”
6 June 2022, staff of the NAREVA subsidiary called ADI posted from the location.
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