The World Bank will extend its assistance to Morocco in its endeavor to reduce dependence on imported fossils fuels and its plans to tap the vast renewable energy resources available.
Morocco will receive $519 million in new funding to enhance the capacity of a concentrated solar thermal power plant currently being constructed as the country’s first utility-scale power complex. The first phase of the Noor-Ouarzazate Concentrated Solar Power Project was also financed by the World Bank.
The project, approved by the World Bank in 2011, will have an installed capacity of 160 MW set up during the first phase, while the new phase will see 350 MW capacity added to the project. The project will use parabolic trough reflectors, the most trusted and tested concentrated solar thermal power technology.
When fully constructed, the project will have an installed capacity of 510 MW or about 8% of Morocco’s current installed power generation capacity. The country had an installed capacity of 6,677 MW in 2012 with coal and hydro power contributing about a quarter of the capacity each.
While Morocco is the largest importer of energy in the MENA region, it also has significant renewable energy potential. The wind energy potential in the country is estimated at 25,000 MW and the Ministry of Energy expects 2,000 MW wind energy capacity installed by 2020.
The country’s Solar Plan targets 2,000 MW solar power capacity installed by 2020. The capacity will be spread across five sites with an aggregate coverage of 10,000 hectares. These projects include the Noor-Ouarzazate Concentrated Solar Power Project, other solar thermal power projects and solar photovoltaic power projects.
Image credit: Z22 | CC BY-SA 3.0
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