Morocco’s state power utility ONEE said on Wednesday it had obtained a $300 million loan from China Exim Bank to finance a 318 megawatt (MW) coal-fired plant in the eastern town of Jerada.
China’s Sepco III won a 3 billion dirham ($348 million)tender launched by ONEE last year to build the second coal-fired power plant in Jerada, near the Algerian border, where protests frequently erupt over unemployment since the closure of the coal mines there in 2001.
Morocco has a huge deficit in energy production as annual consumption is growing by around 8 percent and it has to spend heavily to subsidise power due to high production costs.
Earlier this month, Safi Energy Company, a joint venture between Morocco’s Nareva, France’s GDF SUEZ and Japan’s Mitsui, secured $2.6 billion in financing to build another 1,386 MW coal-fired power plant in southern Morocco.
Morocco wants to meet domestic power demand using thermal power, clearing the way to export renewable energy to the European Union.
($1 = 8.6270 Moroccan Dirhams) (Reporting by Aziz El Yaakoubi; Editing by Mark Potter),