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