In Morocco, the building of the biggest thermo-solar park in the world within 2020

This gigantic site launched in 2016 aims at becoming the biggest thermo-solar park in the world within 2 years. Moreover, the site is equipped with the latest technology that helps to store electricity for a few hours. The project is financed by numerous international investors with a total amount of 8,1 billion Euros and it involves several significant issues for the Kingdom of Morocco.

 

When the four phases of Noor Project will be completed, the solar park will represent the surface of a city such as Rabat as being the Capital of Morocco and enable to provide 580 MW of electricity at the desert’s gates; enough to power more than one million of households. In addition, Phase 1 of Noor Project will produce on its own 160 MW. Noor Power Plant is the cornerstone of the Moroccan large-scale plan dedicated to renewable energies that envisages producing more than 40% of the Kingdom electricity from clean energy within 2020.

Continue the effort after 2020

Spread across 450 hectares, half million of parabolic cylinder mirrors with a height of 12 meters each and deployed on 800 longs rows follow slowly the movement of the sun. Furthermore, these mirrors converge the rays in order to heat a solar fluid that make the steam turbine run at high temperature. With a capacity of power generation of 160 megawatts, Phase 1 of Noor Project is supposed to enable Morocco to significantly reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Based on the Ministry of Energy estimates, the complex will help to avoid the emission of 240,000 tons of CO2 per year, and even 522,000 tons when Phase 2 and 3 of Noor Project are functional. Beside its solar projects, Morocco inaugurated also the biggest wind farm in Africa (300 MW) at the end of 2014 in Tarfaya (South-West). The total cost of these different projects is amounted to 12 billion Euros, i.e. 60% of Moroccan energy investments until 2020.

Is Morocco capable of exporting the energy produced by Noor?

If Morocco aims at becoming the African model in terms of the production of green electricity, it will, at this time, remain dependent of 90% of oil importation. Additionally, the Kingdom gives much interest to this huge project so as to decrease its energy costs, but also to export its electricity. With the help of the first potential client, Germany has programmed to phase out nuclear power in 2020. KWF (the German Development Bank) is the first investor of Noor Power Plant with a loan exceeding 800 billion Euros.

In an effort to sustain the operation of this Plant, the challenge will lie in successfully transferring skills of foreign operating companies to local labor forces. In order to achieve this, the very powerful Solar Energy Agency (Masen) monitors closely and multiplies the approaches in order to form a true industrial field in Morocco. In the distant future, the target is the duplication of infrastructures through the African continent and the participation in its electrification.

 

Sources :

https://www.afdb.org/fileadmin/uploads/afdb/Documents/Environmental-and-Social-Assessments/Ouerzazate%20ESIA%20ex%20sum%20français%20version%20oct%202011.pdf

https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2015/oct/26/morocco-poised-to-become-a-solar-superpower-with-launch-of-desert-mega-project

http://www.up-magazine.info/index.php/planete/transition-energetique/5133-le-maroc-construit-a-ouarzazate-le-plus-grand-parc-solaire-du-monde

Translation of the source: Each parabolic mirror with a height of 12 meters. Photo: Graeme Roberston

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