Tarfaya Windfarm Complex, Western Sahara

In recent years Morocco's King Mohammed VI has had ambitions for building windmills in occupied Western Sahara. Many see it as deepening the occupation of the area.


The construction of the Tarfaya windmill complex started in January 2013, and was completed within two years, launching in 2015. Today it stretches more than 100,000 hectares across the Saharan desert [1].  In 2010, the government decided to double its national wind energy production through developing an additional 1000 MW by 2020. 40% of that added capacity, or 400 MW, is to be developed within the occupied area [1].

See more...
Basic Data
NameTarfaya Windfarm Complex, Western Sahara
SiteLaâyoune-Boujdour-Sakia el Hamra
Accuracy of LocationHIGH local level
Source of Conflict
Type of Conflict (1st level)Fossil Fuels and Climate Justice/Energy
Type of Conflict (2nd level)Land acquisition conflicts
Specific CommoditiesElectricity
Project Details and Actors
Project Details131 wind turbines

Nominal power 301,300 kW
Project Area (in hectares) 10,000
Level of Investment (in USD)49,604,395,000
Type of PopulationRural
Potential Affected PopulationSaharawi people
Start Date01/01/2013
Company Names or State EnterprisesGDF Suez (GDF Suez) from France - Owned and operated by 50/50 joint venture between GDF Suez and Nareva Holding.
Nareva Holding from Morocco - Owned and operated by 50/50 joint venture between GDF Suez and Nareva Holding.
Trarfaya Energy Company (Tarec) from Morocco - Constructor
Siemens from Germany - Turbines manufacturers
Suez Energy from France
Relevant government actorsNational Electricity Office
International and Financial InstitutionsThe World Bank
Environmental justice organisations and other supportersCODESA (collective of Sahrawi human rights defenders),Western Sahara Resources Watch
The Conflict and the Mobilization
Intensity of Conflict (at highest level)MEDIUM (street protests, visible mobilization)
When did the mobilization beginUNKNOWN
Groups MobilizingIndigenous groups or traditional communities
Local government/political parties
Ethnically/racially discriminated groups
Local and international human rights groups, eg. CODESA (Collective of Saharawi Human Rights Defenders)
Forms of MobilizationDevelopment of a network/collective action
Official complaint letters and petitions
Public campaigns
Street protest/marches
Environmental ImpactsPotential: Loss of landscape/aesthetic degradation, Noise pollution
Socio-economic ImpactsVisible: Increase in Corruption/Co-optation of different actors, Displacement, Militarization and increased police presence, Violations of human rights
Potential: Lack of work security, labour absenteeism, firings, unemployment
Project StatusIn operation
Pathways for conflict outcome / responseCorruption
Criminalization of activists
Violent targeting of activists
Development of AlternativesReferendum on sovereignty for Saharawis
Do you consider this as a success?No
Why? Explain briefly.The campaign for divestment is not as strong as in other projects in occupied Western Sahara (eg. Bou Craa mine), but the wider movement for Saharawi independence carries with it demands for sovereignty over natural resources.
Sources and Materials

[2] Arthur Neslen (2016) Africa's biggest windfarm sparks controversy in the desert. The Guardian Online. 22 November 2016.
[click to view]

[1] WSRW (2016). Powering the Plunder. What Morocco and Siemens are hiding at COP22, Marrakesh. WSRW Report - November 2016. Online.
[click to view]


World Bank project page
[click to view]

Media Links

CODESA Facebook page
[click to view]

Other Documents

Tarfaya’s windfarm features 131 turbines. (Credit: Arthur Neslen)
[click to view]

27 September 2016, hundreds of Saharawi refugees protest against Siemens' involvement in occupied Western Sahara (Credit: WSRW)
[click to view]

Meta Information
ContributorPlatform London
Last update06/03/2017