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900 MW Wind Farm for Morocco's Energy Transition

Morocco is pushing ahead with ambitious energy transition goals. The Ministry of Energy has now given the green light for a 900 MW wind farm intended to strengthen the country's sustainability and energy security.

Image: PixabayImage: Pixabay

The project is scheduled to get underway as early as next year: American start-up Soluna Technologies specialising in cryptocurrencies, wants to build a 900 MW wind farm in Dahkla in the Western Sahara, a North African territory under Moroccan administration.

Speaking to the media, Soluna CEO John Belizaire said studies and research into the technical feasibility of the wind farm have already been completed. Now they are turning their attention to the necessary environmental studies. So far, 10 million dollars have been spent on the project, which was delayed by several months due to the Corona pandemic, according to The North African Post. But approvals have now been received from Moroccan authorities including the Regional Investment Council, the Energy Ministry and Industry Ministry. Thus Morocco is pushing ahead with the conversion from fossil to renewable energy, which has been set as the most important task of Moroccan politics by King Mohammed VI a few years ago.

The project, known as Harmattan, is being implemented by AM Wind on a site of more than 10,000 hectares with wind speeds of 35 kilometres per hour. AM Wind is a subsidiary of Germany-based Altus AG, a company that provides wind energy, solar and photovoltaic, biomass, water and waste management solutions. The company expects the wind farm in Dakhla to take six years to complete, Morocco World News reports.

A wind farm in the Western Sahara - this is what Soluna Technolgies' plans look like (Image: Pixabay).

"The startup plans to establish a local centre of excellence that will develop expertise in blockchain technology that is accessible to a growing global market," Belizaire said. "This technology is now used by some of the largest financial institutions in the world, including JP Morgan Chase, PayPal, Goldman Sachs, Square, CME and Intercontinental Exchange," he explained. “We will connect the wind farm with high-capacity computing facilities to support and enable next-generation breakthroughs in the blockchain.” The company is backed by private equity firm Brookstone Partners.

The project is expected to create 400 permanent jobs locally, while 1% of the proceeds will support projects in the local Dakhla community. The investment aims to promote education, vocational training, entrepreneurship and health programmes in the region, Belizaire said.

Africa has the potential to make renewable energy the engine of its growth. However, massive investments in renewable energy production are needed to build low-carbon and climate-resilient growth, especially in these times of a global pandemic.

Katrin Radtke
Morocco, wind farm, onshore, Western Sahara, desert, developer, cryptocurrency, Soluna Technologies, ministry, King, energy transition

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