Morocco Connects First Unit of Giant Noor Solar Thermal Complex to Grid

The first phase of North Africa’s largest solar power complex was connected to the grid in Morocco, with a generating capacity of 160 MW.

The solar thermal plant in the Ouarzazate province is the first unit of the Noor project to be completed. It uses parabolic troughs to focus the sun’s energy on heating a fluid that in turn powers a generation turbine.

The plant cost 800 million euros ($894 million), according to the Moroccan Agency for Solar Energy, which is known as Masen. Saudi Arabia’s Acwa Power International and Spanish firms Sener SA and Acciona SA were the developers.

Noor, meaning “light” in Arabic, is expected to have a combined capacity of 2 GW by 2020 after all the units are complete. The complex will cost about $9 billion and will be spread over at least four locations in Morocco, a Masen spokesman said.

The project is financed by a group of development banks, including the French Development Agency, the European Investment Bank and Germany’s KfW, which each contributed 100 million euros. The World Bank and the Clean Technology Fund both provided 150 million euros, and the African Development Bank another 168 million euros.

The European Union and Germany’s environment ministry also funded the project with 30 million euros and 15 million euros, respectively.

“The real test will be in the operation over the next five to 25 years,” said Jenny Chase, head of solar analysis at Bloomberg New Energy Finance, noting that solar thermal is more technologically risky than PV panels. “If it is not highly technically successful, more of the solar thermal pipeline in the Middle East and North Africa region is likely to be switched to PV.”

Morocco is the only country in North Africa without fossil-fuel reserves and imports over 90 percent of its energy. It has set a target to generate more than half of its power from renewables by 2030.

©2016 Bloomberg News

Lead image:  Ivanpah solar thermal project. Credit: Renewable Energy World.

Untitled Document

Recent Articles

Largest Cherokee County wind farm now under construction

After a 23-year wind farm construction hiatus, work on a 2nd Cherokee County wind farm has begun. Developed...

Nine solar projects go live in Georgia

Duke Energy Renewables, a subsidiary of Duke Energy, announced that nine solar projects developed with SolA...

Can Italy strike twice?

Italy’s National Energy Strategy aims to increase wind and solar power’s share of gross final energy consum...

Lekela reaches financial close for its West Bakr Wind project

Lekela announced that it has reached financial close on its first wind project in Egypt, West Bakr Win...

Bernie Sanders’ ‘Green New Deal’ aims to have renewables power homes by 2030

Bernie Sanders wants renewable energy to power U.S. homes and vehicles by 2030 -- and he wants to do it by ...

EVENTS

There is no current content available.

Copyright 2018 Bloomberg

PAST MAGAZINE ISSUE

05/01/2016
Volume 19, Issue 6

STAY CONNECTED

To register for our free
e-Newsletters, subscribe today: