Morocco to tender for 2 solar plants totalling 300 MW

Updated 02 August 2013

Morocco to tender for 2 solar plants totalling 300 MW

RABAT: Morocco will launch tenders by the start of the fourth quarter for the construction of two concentrated solar power plants, one 200 megawatts (MW) and the other 100 MW, near the southern city of Ouarzazate, its solar energy agency said.
Saudi Arabia’s Acwa Power is already building a 160 MW plant in the Ouarzazate area under a government initiative to produce 2 gigawatts of solar power by 2020, which is equivalent to about 38 percent of Morocco’s current installed generation capacity.
Morocco’s Solar Energy Agency (Masen) said consortia led by Spain’s Abengoa, GDF’s International Power and Acwa Power had been pre-selected for the 200 MW (Noor II) tender.
The three groups are also pre-qualified for the 100 MW tender, with another consortium led by France’s EDF.
The authority has chosen parabolic mirror technology for the 200 MW concentrated solar plant, while the 100 MW plant will also be built as a solar power tower.
Government and banking sources earlier told Reuters about the tenders.
“The capacity ... will depend on the contractors, who could bid for more than the announced capacity, especially with the 100 MW tower which could reach 200 meters, the highest tower ever seen in Morocco,” one of the sources said.
Acwa Power won the contract for the first plant last year after offering a price of 1.62 dirhams ($0.19) per kilowatt/hour that it produces from the plant.
State power utility ONEE has also agreed with international lenders to build around 10 solar photovoltaic plants around the country to generate 30 MW each to help stabilize its electricity network as it faces growing demand.
The World Bank’ss Clean Technology Fund, the European Investment Bank and German state-owned KfW Bank have given their initial agreement to help finance the project, with the official announcement expected in the coming weeks, banking sources said.
Last week, Chinese firm Sepco III signed a contract to build a 318 MW coal-fired plant in Morocco, which is seeking to diversify production and export electricity to energy-hungry Europe.
Morocco is spending heavily to subsidise power production. It currently imports power from Spain as its consumption grows by around 7 percent year.


Electric luxury vehicles, SUVs ‘more likely to cause accidents’

Updated 23 August 2019

Electric luxury vehicles, SUVs ‘more likely to cause accidents’

  • As EV sales rise, French insurer AXA warns that drivers are struggling to adapt to cars’ rapid acceleration

LONDON: Electric luxury cars and sport utility vehicles (SUVs) may be 40 percent more likely to cause accidents than their standard engine counterparts, possibly because drivers are still getting used to their quick acceleration, French insurer AXA said.

The numbers, based on initial trends from claims data and not statistically significant, also suggest small and micro electric cars are slightly less likely to cause accidents than their combustion engine counterparts, AXA said at a crash test demonstration on Thursday.

AXA regularly carries out crash tests for vehicles. This year’s tests, which took place at a disused airport, focused on electric cars.

Overall accident rates for electric vehicles are about the same as for regular cars, according to liability insurance claims data for “7,000 year risks” — on 1,000 autos on the road for seven years — said Bettina Zahnd, head of accident research and prevention at AXA Switzerland.

“We saw that in the micro and small-car classes slightly fewer accidents are caused by electric autos. If you look at the luxury and SUV classes, however, we see 40 percent more accidents with electric vehicles,” Zahnd said.

“We, of course, have thought about what causes this and acceleration is certainly a topic.”

Electric cars accelerate not only quickly, but also equally strongly no matter how high the revolutions per minute, which means drivers can find themselves going faster than they intended.

FASTFACT

Accident rates among luxury and SUV electric vehicles are 40 percent higher than for their combustion engine counterparts.

Half of electric car drivers in a survey this year by AXA had to adjust their driving to reflect the new acceleration and braking characteristics.

“Maximum acceleration is available immediately, while it takes a moment for internal combustion engines with even strong horsepower to reach maximum acceleration. That places new demands on drivers,” Zahnd said.

Sales of electric cars are on the rise as charging infrastructure improves and prices come down.

Electric vehicles accounted for less than 1 percent of cars on the road in Switzerland and Germany last year, but made up 1.8 percent of Swiss new car sales, or 6.6 percent including hybrids, AXA said.

Accidents with electric cars are just about as dangerous for people inside as with standard vehicles, AXA said. The cars are subject to the same tests and have the same passive safety features such as airbags and seatbelts.

But another AXA survey showed most people do not know how to react if they come across an electric vehicle crash scene.

While most factors are the same — securing the scene, alerting rescue teams and providing first aid — it said helpers should also try to ensure the electric motor is turned off. This is particularly important because unlike an internal combustion engine the motor makes no noise. In serious crashes, electric autos’ high-voltage power plants automatically shut down, AXA noted, but damaged batteries can catch fire up to 48 hours after a crash, making it more difficult to deal with the aftermath of
an accident.

For one head-on crash test on Thursday, AXA teams removed an electric car’s batteries to reduce the risk of them catching fire, which could create intense heat and toxic fumes.

Zahnd said that studies in Europe had not replicated US findings that silent electric vehicles are as much as two-thirds more likely to cause accidents with pedestrians or cyclists.

She said the jury was still out on how crash data would affect the cost of insuring electric versus standard vehicles, noting this always reflected factors around both driver and car.

“If I look around Switzerland, there are lots of insurers that even give discounts for electric autos because one would like to promote electric cars,” she said.