Ouarzazate, Morocco

5 Capitals has supported the ACWA Power consortium since the preparation of the bid documents for MASEN during 2011. This initial involvement included working with the ACWA Team to ensure that the environmental controls proposed by the EPC would comply with Equator Principles and the World Bank/IFC standards. The desk study review supported the bid submission. The ACWA Consortium was awarded the project in June 2012.

In October 2012, 5 Capitals travelled to Morocco to meet with MASEN, and to undertake site visits and local consultant interviews in advance of potential further involvement. This visit gave rise to an instruction to prepare a SESIA (Specific Environmental and Social Impact Assessment) by the 11th November 2012. The instruction received from MASEN was to base the SESIA on MASEN’s FESIA (Framework document) with no need to undertake further consultations or site surveys. A methodology (scoping) was submitted to MASEN within 1 week and the draft SESIA was submitted within the requested time-frame.

Notwithstanding the instruction from MASEN to proceed within the existing framework, this advice did not accord with our experience of Equator Principles and WB/IFC requirements. In anticipation of communications to this end from the international lenders, new baseline survey and consultations (through local consultant Phenixa, managed by 5 Capitals) were undertaken, avoiding potential delay later in the project review phase.

As anticipated, the lending banks (particularly the ILOs) have sought detailed clarifications, particularly on the social issues and stakeholder consultations. These have been addressed via MASEN in accordance with sponsor protocol. In addition to the core reporting requirements, 5 Capitals has worked closely with lending institutions on this project and quickly addressed their issues enabling them to disclose information in line with their requirements to their respective stakeholders. The SESIA report was published on the World Bank website on February 11th 2013.

In January 2013, following an amended instruction from MASEN to ACWA Power that it is now their responsibility to submit the SESIA to the Ministry in Morocco. 5 Capitals has initiated this task immediately with local support from Phenixa who are required to make the formal submission.