The 350MW Abdelmoumen pumped-storage hydroelectric power plant is expected to commence operations in 2022. Image courtesy of VINCI.
Abdelmoumen pumped-storage power project site is located close to the existing Abdelmoumen reservoir. Image courtesy of Vinci Construction.
The Abdelmoumen pumped-storage hydroelectric project is being developed on the River Issen, in the Taroudant Province of Morocco. Image courtesy of Vinci Construction.

Abdelmoumen pumped-storage power plant is a 350MW hydroelectric facility being developed  on the River Issen, in the Taroudant Province of Morocco.

State-owned national electric utility Office National de l’Electricité et de l’Eau Potable (ONEE) is the owner and developer of the project, while a consortium of Vinci Construction and Andritz Hydro is the engineering, procurement, and construction (EPC) contractor.

Construction on the pumped-storage hydropower project was started in 2018, while its commissioning is expected by 2022.

Being developed with an estimated investment of $317m, the rapid-response Abdelmoumen pumped-storage power plant will generate 616GWh of electricity a year. It will provide reliable and cost-efficient supply of electricity to the Souss Massa Draa region of Morocco.

The project forms part of Morocco’s strategy to reduce dependence on imported hydrocarbons by increasing and integrating renewable energy generation in the country.

Abdelmoumen pumped-storage power plant location and site details

The Abdelmoumen pumped-storage project is located close to the existing Abdelmoumen reservoir, approximately 70km north-east of Agadir.

The site features consistent presence of water resources and ideal topographic conditions to build and operate a pumped-storage energy facility at a low cost.

A temporary access road will be built to connect the national road N8 for transporting heavy construction equipment to the plant site, in addition to a permanent access road for the operational phase.

Abdelmoumen pumped-storage power plant make-up and operation details

The Abdelmoumen open-loop pumped storage power facility comprises two (upper and lower) water reservoirs, a 3km-long steel-lined waterway connecting both the reservoirs, and a powerhouse comprising two reversible 175MW pump-turbines with motor generators along the waterway.

The plant will operate in pumping mode to move water from the lower reservoir for storage at the upper reservoir located 550m uphill, when surplus electricity is available.

The plant will operate in turbine mode utilizing the top-to-down water flow, when the electricity demand is at peak.

The plant is designed to mobilize up to 1.3 million cubic meters (Mcm) of water for either modes of operation and can switch between pump and turbine modes 20 times a day.

The waterway for the project will consist of a 2km-long penstock, 700m of tunnels having up to 5m of internal diameter, and three shafts up to 60m-high.

The powerhouse of the project will be equipped with two identical 600rpm Francis turbine generator units from Andritz Hydro. With a runner diameter of 3.2m, each turbine unit will be capable of generating 175MW of electricity.

Power transmission

The Abdelmoumen pumped storage power plant will be used to compensate for the fluctuating power output from the wind farms especially located in southern Morocco.

The power generated at the plant will be evacuated via an on-site substation through four transmission lines.

One transmission line will connect with the 225kVsubstation in Agadir, while Chichaoua will be connected with two lines and another line will run to Glacha.

Contractors involved

Vinci Construction, in a consortium with Andritz Hydro, was awarded the turnkey EPC contract for the Abdelmoumen pumped storage energy project in January 2018.

Vinci Construction is responsible for the civil engineering works including the earthworks for two reservoirs, excavation for the powerhouse, installation of penstock, as well as the construction of access roads.

Andritz Hydro is responsible for the design, supply, and commissioning of electromechanical equipment including two 175MW Francis turbines, pumping equipment, motor generators, and a high-voltage substation for the project.

Artelia assisted the Vinci-Andritz consortium for design review and study of alternatives during the EPC proposal preparation.