• Friday, June 21, 2024
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Morocco leads Africa in clean environment as solar provides 42% energy consumption by 2020



Four years from now, Morocco will lead Africa in renewable energy as it plans to generate 42 percent of its energy consumption from alternative sources and improve energy efficiency by 12 percent, BusinessDay learnt at a visit to Morocco’s solar project site in Quarzazate City of the country.

The project, which is expected to attract $9 billion investment by end of the four years, looks to achieve a 52 percent target by 2030, when the country would have completed other phases of the alternative energy projects.
The solar project, NOOR Quarzazate Sola Power Complex, covers an area of 3,000 hectares, about 10 kilometres from the city of Quarzazate, comprising four plants with an initial capacity of 580 megawatts. In the complex are two plants based on CPS Parabolic mirrors, a third sola plant and the last plant based on photovoltaic technology.

Richard Bayev, director of realisation, Solar Plants and Infrastructure, told BusinessDay that the solar plan ‘NOOR’ “anticipates the construction of five solar power plants by 2020, totalling 2,000mw of capacity. The sites for these complexes are located in the regions of Ouarzazate, Ain Bni Mathar, Foum Al Oued, Boujdour and Sebkhat Tah. The plant covers an area of 450 hectares. Ultimately, the programme will save 3.7 million tons of CO2 emissions per year.” Mustapha Bakkoury, president of Moroccan Agency for Solar Energy (MASEN), said the agency aimed to bring the share of renewable energies at 52 percent of the total energy production capacity by 2030.

Bakkoury said the NOOR Sola Plant, through the development of sola projects, should generate investment in excess of $9 billion by 2020, and should enable annual savings in greenhouse emission equivalent to 3.7 million tons of CO2. “Beyond 2012, these indicators will reach even higher,” Bakkoury said.

According to Bakkoury, MASEN is currently qualifying new sites, using the solar atlas developed in order to have a wider project base indispensable to the new higher ambition.

He further said the construction and operation of these integrated plants go along with the active and committed socio-economic development of the regions in which they are located.

“We cannot do this if we do not engage and mobilise all the actors to ensure its success, and we have been able to build that confidence. We realised on time that there is alternative to fossil energy, and we also saw that renewable energy have probable future, and we have pursued this vigorously,” he said.

Another target project by the North African for renewable energy in the economy is the Morocco Wind Parks, and this aims to establish 2,000mw of capacity by 2020, allowing for an annual production corresponding to 26 percent of the current electricity production in the Kingdom, and thus avoiding the emission of 5.6 million tons of CO2 per year. The sites identified for the plan are: Tangier, Jbel Lahdid, Taza, Midelt, Tiskrad and Boujdour. These projects should be operational between 2017 and 2020.

The existing wind parks of Tantan (2013), Tarfaya (2015), Laayoune (2013), Tangier (2010), Essaouira (2007) generate, respectively: 101.87mw, 300mw, 50.6mw, 140mw and 60mw.

Morocco is a Northern African country, bordering the North Atlantic Ocean and the Mediterranean Sea, between Algeria and the annexed Western Sahara. It is one of only three nations (along with Spain and France) to have both Atlantic and Mediterranean coastlines. A large part of Morocco is mountainous.