The first Engie windmills have entered occupied Western Sahara

This week, the first components that will be used for Engie' highly problematic windmill programme in Western Sahara have arrived to the occupied territory.

27 September 2023

The cargo ship Optimax 1 arrived at El Aaiun harbour on 25 September in the afternoon with windmills destined for Engie's controversial project in occupied Western Sahara. The mills were produced in China, and made a short stopover in Tenerife. 

As of 27 September, the ship is anchored just offshore El Aaiún port, waiting to start the process of offloading.

Western Sahara Resource Watch (WSRW) has received images of the loading of the ship, taken on 24 and 25 of September in the port of Grenadilla in Tenerife. The windmill components made a transit on the Canary island, after having arrived from China a few weeks before, aboard larger transport ships that do not fit the small El Aaiun harbour.

The images of Optimax 1 on Tenerife show that blades have already been loaded onto the ship. WSRW expects a handful of such voyages to be undertaken from Tenerife to El Aaiun during the coming weeks with an identical cargo.

Earlier in September, WSRW had obtained images of the windmill components being offloaded on Tenerife. 

All photos and videos in this article can be used freely, without credit needed. 

Download video 1, video 2, video 3, video 4, video 5. The top picture in this article can be downloaded here

Once installed in occupied Western Sahara, the windmills with a nominal power of 6 MW each, will have a combined generating capacity of 72 MW. The highly controversial project, set up by the Moroccan government, will produce energy for a desalination plant, which in turn will generate water for Moroccan settlers who will carry out agricultural activities in the occupied territory. WSRW last wrote to Engie on 17 May 2021 and 22 May 2023 asking about the operation, but the company has not yet responded. 

The location of Optimax 1 as it was documented onloading on Tenerife, 24 and 25 September 2023. 


Since you're here....
WSRW’s work is being read and used more than ever. We work totally independently and to a large extent voluntarily. Our work takes time, dedication and diligence. But we do it because we believe it matters – and we hope you do too. We look for more monthly donors to support our work. If you'd like to contribute to our work – 3€, 5€, 8€ monthly… what you can spare – the future of WSRW would be much more secure. You can set up a monthly donation to WSRW quickly here.

New controversial energy infrastructure to be built in Western Sahara

The Moroccan government has opened for a relatively large tender in Dakhla.

17 March 2017

First overview of gas imports into occupied Western Sahara

50,000 tonnes of liquified gas arrived in occupied Western Sahara last year, according to our first overview of this key trade.

04 May 2020

New report: Western Sahara phosphate trade halved

The export of phosphate rock from occupied Western Sahara has never been lower than in 2019. This is revealed in the new WSRW report P for Plunder, published today.

24 February 2020

German trade fair should stop promoting Azura, groups say

German and Irish law organisations demand that Messe Berlin ceases to accept the controversial French tomato producer Azura.

09 September 2019