And why not. The North African desert kingdom gets over 3,000 yearly hours of solid reliable sun power – every year. Nine centuries of sun have beaten down on the Kingdom of Morocco since this gate was built.
Morocco will invest $9 billion upfront to build 2 Gigawatts of solar power, distributed between 5 solar power plants, by 2020.
The 2 GW (2,000 Megawatts) is enough to supply 40% of the nation’s electricity to 32 million souls, who apparently have fairly modest energy needs.
For example, 32 million Californians added 3,000 Megawatts last year – mostly of wind power. However, that provided a much tinier fraction of our usage.
The five plants are to be built sequentially, with the first one starting up in 2015, saving money right away, by beginning to cut Moroccan dependence on foreign oil and gas imports from nearby neighbors.
Refreshingly unlike so many of those in more oil-corrupted nations that do the bidding of the fossil lobby, Moroccan parliamentary spokesmen and women appear to not only genuinely want “to leave green footprints in the sands of time” but even more incredibly, to be able to muster the voting majority in the kingdom’s bicameral parliament to make it happen.
Maybe they don’t have Fox News there.
Morocco’s Finance Minister Salaheddine Mezouar says that the project will send a very clear message about the need to face up to the challenges of climate change, and that this is just the beginning for the nation. He said, “Morocco is determined to protect the environment in all its future projects.”
Energy Minister Amina Benkhadra also appears undaunted. She promises: “This is a bold but realistic project. We will guarantee all the technical and financial resources to make it succeed.”
The Moroccan government is mobilizing multiple financing sources, and partnering with the World Bank, the European Commission and Desertec to bring about this promise for a future of clean solar power.
If only our own government could be as easily moved to leave green footprints in the sands of time. Our civilization would survive. Then maybe one day we would have architecture like this ancient gate that would bear witness to the centuries and centuries of free sun power we could have utilized instead.
Image: Skyscraper City: 12th century gate to Marakesh
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