Morocco’s NOOR I Powerplant a Beacon of Hope for African Energy

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NOOR I Powerplant
NOOR I (left) NOOR II (right) | The World Bank

Africa, whose developed future is closely linked to the development of renewable energy, is expected to adopt consistent policies and overcome obstacles related to clean energy legislation to establish a framework for the accelerated development of renewable energy, especially solar power. Morroco, through the Noor project, aims to be a solar energy leader of the African continent.

On Monday, October 5, the International Renewable Energy Agency released REmap 2030, a roadmap for the energy transition in Africa. The report shows renewable energy in Africa could account for about 25% of energy supply by 2030, a four-time increase. According to Africa 2030, “Four African countries, Algeria, Egypt, Morocco and South Africa, have deployed a total of six CSP  projects as of March 2015.” The deployment of Concentrated Solar Power (CSP) on the continent (like the NOOR I powerplant) is in its early stages.

While Elon Musk’s SolarCity is trying to sell Californians on photovoltaic panels, solar power is thriving in Africa. The M-Kopa Solar startup strives to provide domestic solar installations to populations not served by the national power grid. Over 400,000 households in East Africa have benefited from these facilities, and growth is surprisingly scalable.

Moroccos’s NOOR I Powerplant

Morocco has found wealth in its desert: for over six months now, the Sun’s rays strike an ocean of mirrors near the town of Ouarzazate. Ninety-five percent energy dependent on imports of fossil fuels, the kingdom now turns to solar and hydroelectric to support its development. The NOOR I solar power plant, now the largest concentrated solar installment, will generate renewable electricity in a country that aims for 52% clean energy use by 2030.

NOOR I Powerplant
NOOR I Reflector | ACWA Power

With a goal of reaching 580 MW capacity in 2018, NOOR 1 is the first realization of NOOR Ouarzazate complex. The final iteration will cover an area of 3000 hectares. NOOR I, developed on an area of about 450 hectares, with a capacity up to 160 MW, uses CSP technology in cylindrical-parabolic collectors with heat storage capacity planned for 3 hours at full power.

NOOR I, developed on an area of about 450 hectares, with a capacity up to 160 MW, uses CSP technology in cylindrical-parabolic collectors with heat storage capacity planned for 3 hours at full power.Click To Tweet

Morocco has called on public and private funds to finance the NOOR Ouarzazate project. Despite the considerable financial risk, the European Union is the main funder of the project. Europe supports Morocco to develop energy capacity and infrastructure in exchange for sustainable energy for the EU.

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