The World Bank announced on Monday that it had approved $125 million in additional financing for the development and construction of the Noor-Midelt I and II solar power plants in Morocco, a combination solar concentrated solar power (CSP) and PV project which will have a total capacity of between 600 to 800 megawatts (MW).
The financial support is designed to aid Morocco’s adoption of innovative solar technology such as concentrated solar power (CSP) technology. Morocco already has one CSP project under construction, the 580 MW Noor-Ouarzazate complex which is due to be completed in October of this year and will be the world’s largest CSP project. The financing will specifically go toward developing and constructing the Noor-Midelt I and II plants being built under the Noor Solar Plan, a critical component in the country’s goal of producing 52% of its electricity from renewable energy sources by 2030.
The new financing — which includes $25 million from the World Bank’s Clean Technology Fund — is being described by the World Bank as being “additional funding,” however as of publication, the World Bank has not clarified for me exactly what it is in “addition” to.
“This is yet another step toward a promising clean energy future for Morocco,” said Marie Francoise Marie-Nelly, World Bank Country Director for the Maghreb, who added that “the Noor-Midelt power complex seals Morocco’s position as the region’s pioneer in renewable energy.”
Upon its completion later this year — the first 160 MW was brought online in early January 2016 — the under-construction Noor-Ouarzazate project is expected to decrease the country’s dependence on oil by approximately 2.5 million tonnes per year and reduce carbon dioxide emissions by 760,000 tonnes per year. Upon its own completion, the Noor-Midelt complex — which will be based on a new design combining CSP and traditional solar PV technologies — will be even larger and yield an even greater environmental impact.
“The design of Noor-Midelt relies on proven technologies that will be operated in a pioneering way to take advantage of the benefits of both CSP and PV technologies on a single site,” added Moez Cherif, World Bank Lead Energy Economist for the Maghreb. Specifically, while the project will not have as large storage capacities as a CSP-only project would, it will be able to generate more due to the combination of CSP with PV.
The new design and construction will be undertaken by the Moroccan Agency for Sustainable Energy (MASEN), a privately-owned company which describes itself as being “responsible for managing renewable energy in Morocco.”
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