The Safi power station project includes a proposed coal-fired thermal plant, which would be located just outside of the city of Safi, situated between Agadir and Casablanca alongside the Atlantic coast.
It is a project carried out by Safi Energy Company S.A. (SAFIEC), which is owned by a consortium of GDF Suez, Mitsui & Co and Nareva Holding that won management of the project in international open tendering process. According to the state press agency, "The financing secured by Safi Energy includes $900 million from the Bank of Japan, $500 million from Moroccan banks Attijariwafa Bank and BMCE Bank and $485 million from international banks from France and Britain" .
According to Reuters, "The plant, to be built in the coastal city of Safi, would be the second-largest coal-fired power station in Morocco and would satisfy around 25 percent of the country's power demand." .
Safi Energy awarded a construction contract, worth $1.77 billion, to South Korea's Daewoo Engineering in 2013 and signed a 30-year power purchase agreement with state power utility ONEE.
When concerns about environmental and health impacts related to the project were first raised, the companies insisted that the plant will use “state-of-the-art ultra-supercritical technology” that will be provided by Daewoo Engineering. It is the first coal-fired project in Africa to use such technology, which claims to optimize environmental performance, provide 10% higher efficiency compared to conventional plants and says it will be able to reduce CO2 emissions and lower fuel costs. The plant is believed to increase Morocco's coal imports by 3.5 million tonnes per year.
Long before the Office National de l'Éléctricité et de l'Eau Potable (ONEE) and Safi Energy Company S.A. announced the signing of the project finance agreements for the construction in September 2014, protests had emerged in Safi. In March 2014, hundreds of people gathered to stage a protest in the city to oppose the construction of the thermal power station. They were claiming that Safi was already suffering from air pollution. Environmentalists did not seem convinced by the companies' claims that the the plant would be using “clean coal” technology. A representative of a local environmental organization holding a campaign against the thermal power station said that local protesters would call for a solar energy plant to be built instead of the thermal plant. The organization stated that residents still remembered a trauma they experienced in September 2011 when major sulphur dioxide leaks from the local phosphate refinery plant occurred.
Since the protest in March 2014, the local organization which translates to “Against the thermal power plant project– Safi” has continued to uphold their demands to stop the construction of the plant.
The Safi coal-fired thermal plant is supposed to start operating in 2018.
|Name of conflict:||Safi power station, Morocco|
|State or province:||Doukkala-Abda region|
|Location of conflict:||Safi (called Asfi in Berber)|
|Accuracy of location||HIGH (Local level)|
|Type of conflict. 1st level:||Fossil Fuels and Climate Justice/Energy|
|Type of conflict. 2nd level:||Coal extraction and processing|
Thermal power plants
The Safi coal-fired thermal powerplant would have a capacity of around 1,320 MW.
The plant is believed to increase Morocco's coal imports by 3.5 million tonnes per year.
|Level of Investment for the conflictive project||Estimated cost: 2,700,000,000 USD|
|Type of population||Urban|
|Affected Population:||Up to 200,000 affected by air pollution of the city of Safi|
|Start of the conflict:||01/03/2014|
|Company names or state enterprises:||Safi Energy Company S.A. from Morocco|
Nareva Holding from Morocco
GDF Suez (GDF Suez) from France
Mitsui & Co Ltd from Japan
Daewoo International from Republic of Korea
|Relevant government actors:||Office National de l'Éléctricité et de l'Eau Potable (ONEE)|
|International and Finance Institutions||Bank of Japan from Japan|
BMCE Bank from Morocco
Attijariwafa Bank from Morocco
Attijariwafa Bank from Morocco
|Environmental justice organizations (and other supporters) and their websites, if available:||ضد مشروع المحطة الحرارية- آسفي|
Contre Centrale Thermique (Unofficial translation: Against the thermal power plant project– Safi): https://www.facebook.com/cpct.safi/timeline
|Intensity||LOW (some local organising)|
|Reaction stage||PREVENTIVE resistance (precautionary phase)|
|Forms of mobilization:||Development of a network/collective action|
Media based activism/alternative media
Objections to the EIA
Official complaint letters and petitions
Occupation of buildings/public spaces
|Environmental Impacts||Potential: Air pollution|
|Health Impacts||Visible: Other environmental related diseases|
|Other Health impacts||Respiratory problems|
|Socio-economical Impacts||Potential: Loss of livelihood|
|Project Status||Under construction|
|Conflict outcome / response:||Strengthening of participation|
|Proposal and development of alternatives:||A representative of a local environmental organization holding a campaign against the thermal power station said that local protesters would call for a solar energy plant to be built instead of the thermal plant.|
|Do you consider this an environmental justice success? Was environmental justice served?:||No|
|Briefly explain:||Despite opposition from local residents, the Safi coal-fired thermal powerplant is now under construction.|
|References to published books, academic articles, movies or published documentaries|
|Related media links to videos, campaigns, social network|
Protesters in SAFI
Campaigners against air pollution