WSRW has today sent a letter to Siemens, essentially repeating a question which Siemens keeps dodging: have the people of Western Sahara consented to Siemens’ wind turbines being set up in their land?
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In December 2016, Morocco's national electricity agency issued a tender to install a very high tension electricity network in "southern Morocco" - the Moroccan terminology for what is in fact Western Sahara; a territory largely and illegally occupied by Morocco since 1975.
The programme will link two wind farms that were at that time still in the planning phase: the Aftissat plant (200 MW) and the Boujdour farm (400 MW). Both projects will be carried out by Nareva - the energy branch of the royal holding company SNI. And both farms will thus be built in occupied Western Sahara.
The new plants in Boujdour and Aftissat will add to the two other wind farms that Nareva is constructing in the occupied territory as part of the "integrated wind power project": a programme that includes the construction of five wind farms with the cumulative capacity of 850 MW. Two of those five farms are located in Western Sahara. One of them, a 100 MW farm, will also be built in Boujdour. The other 300 MW wind farm is planned to be constructed in Tiskrad, a town near Western Sahara's capital El Aaiún. The 850 MW programme was accorded to a consortium of firms led by German giant Siemens, who had teamed up with Italy's Enel Green Power and Nareva.
Click the map to the right for a high resolution version with legend.
The Moroccan king's wind firm isn't the only one trailblazing the highly controversial wind energy plans in occupied Western Sahara. Up to now, Siemens has a stake in practically all wind farms in the territory: • Siemens supplied wind mill parts for the operational 50 MW Foum el Oued park; • Together with Enel Green Energy and Nareva, Siemens won the tender for the construction of the 300 MW Tiskrad wind farm and the 100 MW Boujdour farm. • Siemens is providing the parts for the construction of the 200 MW Aftissat wind farm.
So far, WSRW has not been able to link Siemens to the 400 MW wind farm which is in the works for Boujdour.
With the new planned wind farms in Boujdour, the share of the production in occupied Western Sahara out of Morocco's total wind energy production, will rise to over 40%.
Morocco occupies the major part of its neighbouring country, Western Sahara. Entering into business deals with Moroccan companies or authorities in the occupied territories gives an impression of political legitimacy to the occupation. It also gives job opportunities to Moroccan settlers and income to the Moroccan government. Western Sahara Resource Watch demands foreign companies leave Western Sahara until a solution to the conflict is found.
Leading activists from Western Sahara are condemned to sentences ranging from 20 years to life imprisonment in connection to a mass protest in 2010 denouncing the Saharawi people’s social and economic marginalization in their occupied land; the Gdeim Izik protest camp.
At COP22, beware of what you read about Morocco’s renewable energy efforts. An increasing part of the projects take place in the occupied territory of Western Sahara and is used for mineral plunder, new WSRW report documents.
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