By February 4, 2016 Read More →

Concentrated solar power plant launched in Morocco, will power 1M homes

Concentrated solar power plant will reduce oil dependence and lower carbon emissions

concentrated solar power

The $3 billion concentrated solar power plant should be fully operational by 2018.  Climate Investment Funds image.

OUARZAZATE, Morocco _On Thursday, His Majesty Mohammed VI of Morocco launched the first phase of the Noor-Ouarzazate comples, the world’s largest concentrated solar power (CSP) plant in the world.

When fully operational in 2018, the plant will produce more than enough energy to power over one million homes in the North African country.  Once completed, it is estimated the facility will reduce the country’s energy dependence by about two and a half million tons of oil and lower carbon emissions by 760,000 tons per year.

“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.  Marie-Nelly adds “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 International Energy Agency estimates that up to 11 per cent of the world’s electricity generation by 2015 could come from concentrated solar power.  This is especially true in the Middle East and North Africa, a region with abundant solar resources.

Despite the potential of CSP, the relatively high costs, when compared to fuel alternatives, mean utilities often defer from investing.  As a result, to get the Moroccan project plugged in, concessional and public financing were key.  The Moroccan Agency for Solar Energy put in $3 billion for the Noor-Ouarzazate complex from the African Development Bank, Climate Investment Funds, European financing institutions and the World Bank.

“This launch shows that the low-cost, long-term financing provided by the CIF can serve as the spark that attracts the public and private investments needed to build massive CSP production facilities at an attractive cost for countries interested in developing solar energy,” said Mafalda Duarte, Head of the Climate Investment Funds.

Yacine Fal, AfDB resident representative in Morroco says the the Noor solar complex is part of the development bank’s innovative operations in the energy sector.  “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.”

Along with the environmental benefits of the CSP plant, the facility has created new, local jobs, and can lead to a high-performing sustainable energy economic sector in Morocco.



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