Electric Power: Securing the Autonomy of Supply
Electrification, one of the main vectors of economic and social development, is presently a concrete reality in the Saharan Provinces. Back in 1975, most cities and villages were not electrified; today they are mostly endowed with power-generating units and distribution networks. The efforts of the public authorities have been geared towards two major objectives: the development of the production capacity, on the one hand, and the setting up of a distribution network, on the other hand. The ultimate goal is to make the entire region, including urban centers, autonomous in terms of power supply.
To this end, new power plants have been built in the main urban centers, while the older power plants have been consolidated.Laāyoune is presently supplied with power by a 76 MW power-station, called Phos Boucraa, which was already in existence in 1975. Smara, which has long suffered from lack of power, due to the fact that the production of the existing three 450 kV A was destined for the military barracks, is today provided with a new 4 (1800 kVA) unit power plant. In Dakhla all the facilities inherited from the era of colonization were virtually inoperative. Today, however, the city is supplied with power by a station equipped with 5 power-sets generating a total of 3,860 kV A. The construction of a new plan is now underway in order to meet the city’s increasing needs. Boujdour, likewise, had no power-generating equipment in the mid-seventies. Ever since, the town has been provided with a plant consisting of three 750 kV A generating sets. The outcome of these efforts is a marked and swift increase in electric power sales: from a mere 2 million k Wh in 1975 to more than 12 million in 1985. In anticipation of exponentially growing demand, a project providing for the setting up of a diesel power plant in Laāyoune has been retained. The plant will be equipped with three 7-10 MW generating sets. Production is expected to be in the order of 60 million k Wh, accounting for a yearly consumption of 10,ooo tons of fuel, and 20 m2 of water per day.
In order to guarantee the electrification of new housing districts, hospitals, Souks (marketplaces), stadiums, and school establishments have been connected to the power supply network. By the same token, all the necessary development works have been undertaken to see to the provision of radio-television centers and drinking water pumps with power.
Obsolete distribution networks have been entirely rebuilt; existing lines have been reinforced while the whole circuits’ set has been considerably expanded. In Laāyoune, twenty-five kilometers of medium voltage lines and thirty-eight of low-voltage lines have been set up. The city’s public lighting network covers some 22 kilometers. No fewer than fourteen distribution substations have been renovated while seventeen other substations have been built.
The number of subscribers has, likewise, markedly grown: it has actually tripled in Laāyoune and Dakhla and increased five folds in Smara. No less significant efforts have also been expended in order to expand and enhance the electrification of rural areas: generating sets have thus been installed in Gueltat Zemmour, Daoura, Dchira, Hagounia, Laāyoune Harbor, Lamseid, Amgala, Bir Lahlou, Haouza, and Tifariti.