In 2016 with only 850 MW of capacity auctioned, the 1000 MW Moroccan Wind Energy Initiative of ONEE provided the world’s lowest wind energy costs. At 2.7€cent/kWh without support mechanisms and up to 70% of the total investments spent in local contents, the industry is on track to reach even lower wind energy prices in the future.
Compared to Germany's 1900 hours of wind power production per year, the exceptional quality of the Trade Winds blowing over the Sahara desert would generate production figures exceeding 3400 Full Load Hours. In 2002, we published the following cost simulation: taking a price of 1000€/kW of rated Wind Turbine capacity, 5% real interest rate, 20 years lifetime and 2% of total investment as annual Operation & Maintenance costs, wind power costs fall under 3€cent/kWh. From single wind measurements available within this territory, where over 5000 Full Load Hours can be derived or 60% wind capacity factor, wind electricity prices drop even further.
By their large-scale application inside the EU, the price of the installed capacity will be much lower than what been assumed in the aforementioned example. Today’s elaborate supply base turned the wind industry into a competitive business. By installing close to 20 GW per year since 2010 (50% of the world's wind turbine market), China managed to significantly reduce wind capacity costs. Built with local components, access to cheap electricity has considerable impacts on a country’s industrial competitiveness.
In the Sahara desert, projects in the multi-GW range can be built. On such scale, the transfer of wind turbine components manufacturing can be achieved. Besides reducing operation and maintenance costs, this provides a stable production base for wind turbines designed to match specific local wind conditions. Coupled to desalinated water and green hydrogen production to leverage the region's resources, this combination along with a sound regulatory framework ensures the Sahara Wind project's successful implementation.