The Jorf Lasfar site is 130km south west of Casablanca on the Atlantic coast in the El Jadida province. The coal-based power plant satisfies approximately 65% of Morocco’s base-load electricity demand and provides one-third of the country’s total electricity supply.
The $1.5 billion facility is the largest independent power facility of its kind in Africa or the Middle East. A 30-year purchase agreement with the national power utility company, National de l’Electricité (ONE) provided a guarantee for a long-term buyer for the new electricity generated.
JORF LASFAR POWER PLANT CONSTRUCTION AND FINANCING
Paralysing power shortages and a population increase of 2.5% per year have forced Morocco to seek definitive solutions to its growth problems. Demand for power has increased by 7% per year while 40% of the population is still without power service. The new plant is therefore vital to the country’s economic development.
The approval for the project was granted on 28 August 1997 and construction began immediately afterwards. The final unit (four) started commercial operations in October 2001 at an estimated cost of $1.5 billion. Units one and two were completed in 1994 and 1995 respectively and total 660MW. Unit three was completed in June 2000 and produces 348MW.
The project was developed as a private sector venture by a special purpose company, the Jorf Lasfar Energy Company (JLEC), under a build-transfer-operate arrangement, including the leasing of the existing units to JLEC to operate for thirty years through a Transfer of Possession Agreement with a transfer of possession fee. The same arrangement of transfer of possession and fee is applicable to the completed units. The accomplished objective of the Jorf Lasfar expansion project was to meet future demand for electricity in an economically and environmentally sustainable manner.
Securing financial support for the massive project proved to be a task in which the two primary investors required assistance. While equity and reinvested cash from CMS and ABB totalled $585 million, a consortium of governmental, multilateral and private financial institutions provided the balance of $920 million. The USA-based Overseas Private Investment Corporation (OPIC) issued a commercial guarantee for the project valued at $210 million.
COAL AND FLY ASH
CMS and ABB will have the responsibility to handle 4 million tons per year of coal supply for Jorf and the government owned Mohamedia power plant.
Prior to CMS taking over the plant in 1997, fly ash generated by the plant had been pumped into the ocean. Since the first day of CMS operation, the plant has placed all of the ash in a lined storage area. Since November 1999, Jorf has used a new long-term ash disposal site, which is located three miles from the plant and will last for 30 years of the plant’s operating life.
Additionally, Jorf has been selling as much of its fly ash as possible to cement companies since July 1999. Currently they are taking up to 30% of the ash monthly.
The plant must also meet stringent air quality standards put in place by the financial institutions funding the construction of units three and four.
POWER PLANT CONTRACTORS
Under the agreement, ABB built the units and CMS Generation, a CMS Energy subsidiary, operate them. Thus, ABB is responsible for making much of the equipment, such as the plant’s two 350MW steam turbine generator sets, two coal-fired boilers, the control system and the balance of the plant’s equipment.