Morocco has launched the first phase of the largest concentrated solar power (CSP) plant in the world. When fully operational, the plant will produce enough energy for more than one million Moroccan households.
Inaugurated officially by His Majesty Mohammed VI of Morocco, the solar plant underlines the country’s determination to reduce dependence on fossil fuels, use more renewable energy, and move towards low carbon development.
The three-plant Noor-Ouarzazate CSP complex called NOORo expects to achieve over 500 megawatts (MW) installed capacity, ultimately supplying power to 1.1 million Moroccans by 2018. It is estimated that the plant will reduce the country’s energy dependence by about 2 and half million tons of oil, while also lowering carbon emissions by 760,000 tons per year.
When the next two phases, Noor II and Noor III, are finished, the plant will be the single largest solar power production facility in the world.
The first stage of the power plant will generate electricity for three hours after nightfall, and the full complex is meant to produce power 20 hours a day.
“With this bold step toward a clean energy future, Morocco is pioneering a greener development and developing a cutting edge solar technology,” said Marie Francoise Marie-Nelly, World Bank Country Director for the Maghreb. “The returns on this investment will be significant for the country and its people, by enhancing energy security, creating a cleaner environment, and encouraging new industries and job creation.”
The Moroccan Agency for Solar Energy, the government agency focused on the country’s solar ambitions, secured over $3 billion needed for the Noor-Ouarzazate complex from the African Development Bank (AfDB), the Climate Investment Funds (CIF), European financing institutions and the World Bank.
As well as the environmental benefits, the plant results in new, local jobs, and can lead to a high-performing sustainable energy economic sector for Morocco.
Yacine Fal, AfDB resident representative in Morocco, said: “Noor solar complex is part of the innovative operations of AfDB in the energy sector in terms of financing and technology. It stands to serve as an example for Africa and the world about how to create effective pathways to greener and more inclusive economies through renewable energy.”
Source: World Bank