The Akhfennir wind farm is located in southern Morocco on the eastern edge of the Akhfennir National Park, 120 km north of the city of Tarfaya.
With 100 MW of capacity in operation since 2013, the Akhfennir wind farm is the first to be put in service in the region. With over 380 GWh generated per year, the very favorable Atlantic trade winds enable this wind farm to achieve a significant productivity. The facility consists of 61 Alstom Eco74 wind turbines of 1,670 kW each, with a 74m rotor diameter.
As Clean Development Mechanism CDM certified project since 2011, the CO2 emissions reductions amount to 300,000 tons per year. The offset of the CO2 equivalent in the atmosphere would require the planting of over 50 million trees. Hence, an additional 100 MW of wind capacity is currently under construction. The extension, composed of 56 General Electric GE 1.7-100 wind turbines, will double the wind farm’s installed capacity to 200 MW by 2016.
Originally sited north of the Akhfennir National Park, the environmental impact study recommended moving the wind farm to its eastern present location. This was made in order to protect some of the resting areas of the National Park’s bird species. By preserving access to traditional herding activities, the available statistics suggest that impact of the wind project on the local ecosystem remains negligible.
Yielding 200 GWh/year of wind electricity due to the Atlantic trade winds, the Foum El Oued wind facility offsets close to 135,000 tons of CO2. This is equivalent to CO2 emissions absorbed by 27 million trees. With an open access to the region’s traditional herding activities, the impact of the wind project on wildlife and the ecosystem is limited.
Located near the Phosboucraâ Phosphates export terminal, the wind farm supplies Morocco’s state-owned phosphate conglomerate OCP group with electricity. This is made possible through Morocco’s Renewable Energy Law 13-09 which enables wind-electricity to be wheeled directly to industrial end-users. The electricity is currently used for the extraction; transport through a 98 km long conveyor belt and sea water desalination, which is required for washing Phosphate rock from the Boucraâ mine.
As a concession to a private consortium from Morocco’s National electricity and drinking water utility (ONEE) under a 20 year Power Purchase Agreement, the Tarfaya wind farm generates over 1,000 GWh/year. This power is expected to offset 900,000 tonnes of CO2 emissions per year, equivalent to the CO2 emissions absorbed by 150 million trees. The wind farm helps electrify 1.5 million households.
In preserving access to traditional camel herding activities, wind turbine layouts have also included provisions to ensure the safety of local bird species. Although sparse in this area due to an arid climate, the impact of this large wind farm on the environment is limited.