GDF SUEZ and Nareva start commercial operation of Africa’s largest wind project

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GDF SUEZ and Nareva start commercial operation of Africa’s largest wind project

GDF Suez and Nareva Holding have announced that the 301 MW Tarfaya wind farm on Morocco’s southern Atlantic coast began full commercial operation on 8 December 2014.

The project has been built by Tarfaya Energy Company (TAREC), a 50:50 joint venture between both partners.

Tarfaya is Africa's largest wind farm to date, comprising 131 wind turbines of 2.3 MW each, spread over an area of 8,900 hectares. The project will generate enough carbon-free electricity for 1.5 million homes.

Gérard Mestrallet, Chairman and CEO of GDF Suez commented:

“Tarfaya wind farm provides Morocco with a domestic source of clean energy enhancing the country’s energy independence. Our Group is committed to sustainability and this project will significantly contribute to our objectives for renewables growth worldwide.”

The Tarfaya plant has been contracted to supply electricity to the Moroccan state utility Office National de l’Electricité et de l’Eau Potable (ONEE) under a 20-year power purchase agreement (PPA) on a build, own, operate and transfer (BOOT) basis.

Tarfaya achieved financial close in December 2012. The total investment cost of the project is approximately €450 million (US$560 million). The debt financing is provided by a consortium of three Moroccan banks.

The wind farm is expected to yield a high load factor of 45%. The 301 MW capacity represents 15% of the 2 GW target Morocco has set for wind energy development. Tarfaya will therefore contribute significantly to the Kingdom’s objective of achieving 42% installed capacity from renewable energy by 2020.

Construction of the wind farm started in January 2013 and phased commercial operation commenced in tranches of 50 MW in June 2014. The wind farm will be operated by TAREC.

Three Moroccan banks - Attijariwafa bank, Banque Centrale Populaire and Banque Marocaine du Commerce Extérieur – provided a 4 billion Moroccan dirham financing for the project.

In Africa, GDF Suez has interests in four other assets with a gross capacity of around 2,485 MW under construction: the 94 MW West Coast 1 wind farm, and the 970 MW Avon and 335 MW Dedisa peaking plants in South Africa; and the 2x693 MW Safi thermal project in Morocco. GDF Suez has 3,907 MW wind generation capacity worldwide.

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