Masdar to expand in key MENA markets

Abu Dhabi-based renewables firm Masdar this week revealed plans to expand its reach with new projects in Morocco, Egypt and Jordan.

Masdar’s CEO Dr Ahmad Belhoul told regional paper Gulf News that the firm is looking into the three “key” markets in the MENA region “very carefully for investment”, and that “there is plenty of potential in these countries for both solar and wind”.

Belhoul said energy demand in the region is expected to double by 2030, so “it makes sense for us to double our portfolio in the next 10 years”. He said Masdar “will be a big player in the market”.

Morocco, which Belhoul called “one of the mature markets in the region”, aims to get 42 per cent of its power from renewables by 2020. In March 2015, Masdar and Morocco’s Office National de l'Electricité et de l'Eau Potable (ONEE) initiated a partnership to install over 17,000 home solar systems in 940 Moroccan villages. Masdar said the project will result in 99 per cent of rural Morocco having access to electricity by 2017.

In October, Masdar was reportedly eyeing an 850 MW Moroccan wind tender, a bid for 170 MW of solar power in the country, and the purchase of at least a 25 per cent share in operational or under-construction wind power projects.

In Jordan, after the successful commissioning of the 117 MW Tafila wind farm (pictured), Behloul said Masdar “made one investment and we want to reinvest” because of the high cost of energy and “strong business case” in the country.

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