Last update:

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
Name of conflict:Tarfaya Windfarm Complex, Western Sahara
Location of conflict:Laâyoune-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:Large-scale wind energy plants
Land acquisition conflicts
Specific commodities:Electricity
Project Details and Actors
Project details

131 wind turbines

See more
Project area: 10,000
Level of Investment for the conflictive project49,604,395,000
Type of populationRural
Affected Population:Saharawi people
Start of the conflict:01/01/2013
Company names or state enterprises:GDF 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 actors:National Electricity Office
International and Finance Institutions International Finance Corporation (of World Bank) (IFC)
Environmental justice organizations (and other supporters) and their websites, if available:CODESA (collective of Sahrawi human rights defenders),Western Sahara Resources Watch
Conflict & Mobilization
IntensityMEDIUM (street protests, visible mobilization)
Reaction stageUnknown
Groups mobilizing:Indigenous 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 mobilization:Development 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-economical 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
Conflict outcome / response:Corruption
Criminalization of activists
Violent targeting of activists
Proposal and development of alternatives:Referendum on sovereignty for Saharawis
Do you consider this an environmental justice success? Was environmental justice served?:No
Briefly explain: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 & Materials
References to published books, academic articles, movies or published documentaries

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

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

World Bank project page
[click to view]

Related media links to videos, campaigns, social network

CODESA Facebook page
[click to view]

Meta information
Contributor:Platform London
Last update18/08/2019
Conflict ID:2683
Legal notice / Aviso legal
We use cookies for statistical purposes and to improve our services. By clicking "Accept cookies" you consent to place cookies when visiting the website. For more information, and to find out how to change the configuration of cookies, please read our cookie policy. Utilizamos cookies para realizar el análisis de la navegación de los usuarios y mejorar nuestros servicios. Al pulsar "Accept cookies" consiente dichas cookies. Puede obtener más información, o bien conocer cómo cambiar la configuración, pulsando en más información.