The Moroccan company Nareva Holding and German company Siemens signed a contract for the delivery of a total of 44 wind turbines for the plant of Haouma - close to Tanger in the north of Morocco - and the plant at Foum El Oued. Siemens claims that the Foum El Oued delivery was to a place "9 km south east of the port of Laâyoune in Southern Morocco."
What is not stated in the press release from Siemens, [or download] is that the latter is in fact located close to El Aaiun, the capital of Western Sahara, occupied by Morocco since 1975.
"These two orders show that the internationalization strategy of Siemens is successful," stated Felix Ferlemann, CEO of the Siemens Wind Power Division.
Western Sahara Resource Watch, however, finds Siemens’s activity in Western Sahara troublesome.
“Siemens’s investments in plant Foum El Oued must be stopped. The Saharawi people, the real owner of the land, haven’t been consulted. Nareva Holding is a Moroccan company that should not negotiate with goods and land that it does not itself own”, stated Erik Hagen of Western Sahara Resource Watch.
“The military presence of the Moroccan armed forces in the Saharawi windy areas could provide for protection of Siemens renewable energy business but that will hardly prove to be sustainable. Siemens should reconsider its values and ethics before contributing to support a regime with no legal rights to the territory - a regime which carries out severe human rights violations against the people of the territory where the Siemens wind project will be located”, stated Hagen.
At the moment, Morocco is the second biggest market for wind turbines in Africa, after Egypt. The Moroccan Electricity National Company has planned more investments in this energy branch for the coming years and some weeks ago has announced another international contest for providing 850 windy MW.
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.
It's not easy keeping up with all the different legal proceedings relating to Western Sahara. For the sake of clarity, here's an overview of the five different cases at the Court of Justice of the European Union.