Morocco has begun to invest in solar energy, utilizing the abundance of sources of natural energy to create solar plants that will provide half the country’s energy by 2050.
The United Nations Climate Change Conference and 22nd Conference of the Parties (COP22) was hosted in Marrakesh, Morocco from November 7th through the 18th. For the Maghreb Kingdom, this event was an occasion to display the country’s commitment towards sustainability and renewable energy. Morocco is located at the westernmost point of the Arab world, with ‘Maghreb’ meaning ‘west’ in Arabic, and as a result does not share in the same oil reserves enjoyed by many other Arab states.
Instead, King Mohammed VI hopes to invest in renewable energy. This will both help to make Morocco more independent, as well as develop the infrastructure of the country. While Morocco lacks fossil fuels, the country’s proximity to coastlines from both the Atlantic and Mediterranean offer both sun and wind. King Mohammed VI looks to utilize these natural resources to increase Morocco’s share of renewable electrical energy to 52% by 2030. The goal is for 14% of this energy to come from solar power. Morocco’s aims in this sector are indeed high, but manageable considering that the Moroccan Agency for Solar Energy (Masen) has announced the construction of two huge solar plants with a total capacity of up to 800 MW by the beginning of 2017.
The town of Ouarzazate, situated at the foot of the Atlas Mountain Chain and near the doorstep of the Sahara, is the location of the concentrated solar power plant (CSP) Noor I. With 330 days of sunshine each year, the reasons why are self-evident. The plant was commissioned in February 2016, and is now considered one of the largest in the world.
[Photo by Fahim Fadz. | Flickr]