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Concentrating the Power of the Sun

26 February 2016 | Updated 01 January 1970

The Noor Concentrated Solar Power (CSP) complex became operational this week and is Morocco’s first utility-scale solar energy complex.

Designed to be a crucial part of the Moroccan solar energy programme, it will be operated as a public-private partnership (PPP) with the International Company for Water and Power Projects.

The project seeks to contribute to the commercial viability of CSP and its potential throughout MENA (Middle East and North Africa) and operates with an installed capacity of 160mW. The first phase predicts 240,000 tons of CO2 emissions will be avoided per annum and by 2018, the three-phase project should be the largest of its kind in the world with over 500mW of installed capacity that will produce enough clean power to meet the needs of 1.1 million Moroccans.


Among the benefits for the country will be:

  • The plant will reduce carbon emissions by 760,000 tons per year which could result in an estimated reduction of over 17.5 million tons of carbon emissions over 25 years.

  • The share of renewable energy in total electricity generation is expected to increase from 4,345gW/h (13%) in 2013 to a target of 5,501gW/h (42%) by 2020.

  • Energy dependency should be reduced through additional electricity production from the 160mW Noor I and the 350mW Noor II and III in 2018.

  • Reaching Morocco’s true energy efficiency potential will prospectively pave the way for economic growth and ultimately generate employment.


Project beneficiaries

The project site is situated 10km from Ouarzazate town along National Highway No. 10.

The surrounding rural area accommodates a population of approximately 583,000 inhabitants and has a poverty rate of almost 23% and the new facility is expected to benefit the immediate population, Moroccan businesses, and all productive sectors, e.g. industries, transport, agriculture, etc. regular electricity supply and sustainable power generation.


Sustainability goals

At the moment, Morocco is extremely dependent on energy imports and fossil fuels which currently provide over 97% of its energy.

The country's ambitious low carbon growth objectives (42% of installed capacity will be covered by renewables by 2020) and progress in adaptation actions to manage its vulnerability (especially in agriculture) contributed to the decision to allow Morocco to host the next COP (COP22) in November 2016. 

Picture: The Noor Concentrated Solar Power facility is a major step in Morocco’s energy programme

Article written by Robin Snow | Published 26 February 2016


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