IFC, a member of the World Bank Group, has announced it has agreed to a US$20 million equity investment in ACWA Power Ouarzazate, which has developed the 160 MW NOOR 1 concentrated solar power (CSP) parabolic trough plant with three-hour storage near Ouarzazate, Morocco.
IFC’s investment will help support the development of Morocco’s solar power industry, part of an effort to combat climate change and bolster the country's supply of electricity.
NOOR 1 is part of NOOR Solar Complex, which will be the world's largest CSP complex once complete. NOOR Solar Complex will provide power to more than one million people, while preventing the release of 300,000 tonnes of greenhouse gasses annually.
IFC is providing the funds to ACWA Power both from its own account and via IFC Global Environment Facility/Earth Fund, an initiative designed to support innovative public-private partnerships.
IFC's financing for the NOOR 1 project is part of a broader effort by the institution to combat climate change and support economic development in the Middle East and North Africa.
The NOOR complex represents a significant strategic partnership between the state and a private enterprise.
Acwa Power remains the majority shareholder with 56%, Masen Capital, a 100% subsidiary of Moroccan sustainable energy agency Masen, has a 25% stake, IFC has 12 %, Spanish TSK has 2.5% Aries has 2.5% and investment fund Asra Invest has the remaining 2%.
Paddy Padmanathan, President and CEO, at ACWA Power, said:
"The world is already experiencing the effects of climate change and renewable energy is vital in the push to scale back the effects of global warming. NOOR serves as the perfect example to the international community that emerging economies like Morocco – which is setting the example to the rest of the world – can power an ambitious vision for renewable energy, and create a greener and more sustainable future for its people.”
“That Morocco has led the charge for clean energy is no accident. The procurement process was clear and transparent, and the country was prepared to support debt-equity transactions, which created an encouraging environment for private companies like ACWA Power. The IFC is a natural partner for this iconic project and we are delighted to have them on board. Together, we will continue to foster social and economic development in Ouarzazate by providing the local population with critical infrastructure, job creation and skills training.”
Dimitris Tsitsiragos, IFC Vice President of Global Client Services, stated:
“MENA is leading the way towards a future built on clean, renewable energy. The region has tremendous potential when it comes to generating power from the sun and the wind. This project demonstrates that private companies and governments are beginning to tap into that promise.”