Clean Power

Published on October 3rd, 2014 | by Smiti Mittal

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World Bank To Lend $519 Million to Morocco For Its Largest Solar Thermal Power Plant

October 3rd, 2014 by  

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.

Parabolic Trough Reflectors

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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About the Author

works as a senior solar engineer at a reputed engineering and management consultancy. She has conducted due diligence of several solar PV projects in India and Southeast Asia. She has keen interest in renewable energy, green buildings, environmental sustainability, and biofuels. She currently resides in New Delhi, India.



  • JamesWimberley

    Morocco is a renewables leader among Arab countries, having no significant oil and gas of its own. It has not SFIK done anything much to boost distributed solar, which would run counter to the centralising, paternalist culture typical of Arab states. The King knows best. Contrast Sub-Saharan Africa: chaotic, poor, but much more entrepreneurial. Nigerians and Kenyans don’t expect much from the government.

  • Matt

    “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.”
    Maybe that should be half each. Or you should mention where the other 50% came from.

    • Offgridman

      Near where it makes the reference to how much their own coal and hydro power generation contributes to their total electrical usage, it also says that they are the “largest importer of energy in the region”.
      It would make sense to me that the other fifty percent of their electric usage is part of that total imported energy. Thus the reason that it is so important that they produce as much homegrown electricity as possible from solar and wind.

      • Bob_Wallace

        There is a transmission cable between Morocco and Europe which has been used to import electricity. Electricity flows both ways on a wire and Morocco has stated that it wants to be a net exporter.

        Time to increase transmission between Morocco, Spain and Portugal and northern Europe. Send that good solar power north and northern hydro south. Greatly increase the width of the wind region for more stability.

        • Offgridman

          Thanks for the help with my guesstimate of the situation.
          Also I think that you are right, the more grid interties between regions, states, countries and etc to allow the surplus of renewable energy to be shared. The more stable the total grid, and the fewer the concerns over the variability.

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