On Thursday, Morocco’s King Mohammed VI inaugurated NOOR Ouarzazate I, the 160 MW first phase of a 580 MW, multi-technology solar complex being built near the city of Ouarzazate, Morocco. According to the Moroccan agency Masen, the NOOR Ouarzazate I project is a concentrating solar power (CSP) parabolic trough installation, and the remaining NOOR Ouarzazate phases will also include CSP tower and photovoltaic technology.
When fully operational by 2018, the entire NOOR Ouarzazate complex will produce enough energy for more than 1 million Moroccan households, helping the country reach its goal of generating 42% of its energy needs from renewable sources by 2020 and 52% by 2030.
As King Mohammed VI noted in a speech at COP21 in Paris last November, Morocco’s “proactive policy on sustainable development and environmental protection” encompasses a wide range of initiatives.
Masen secured over $3 billion needed for the NOOR Ouarzazate complex from the African Development Bank, the Climate Investment Funds, European financing institutions and the World Bank.
“With this bold step toward a clean energy future, Morocco is pioneering a greener development and developing a cutting-edge solar technology,” says Marie Francoise Marie-Nelly, World Bank country director for the Maghreb, “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.”
According to Masen, the NOOR Ouarzazate complex is just one piece of an even larger, 2 GW plan that will include other NOOR solar projects to be built in Midelt, Tata, Laayoune and Boujdour.
Photos courtesy of the Masen