Morocco: world’s largest CSP plant to be constructed

05 November 2015

The construction of what is expected to be the world’s biggest concentrated solar power plant in Morocco is ongoing. According to the World Bank,

when complete, the CSP plant will supply electricity to 1.1 million Moroccans by 2018.

The plant is being constructed in a 30-km2 area outside Ouarzazate city, on the fringe of the Sahara desert. Officials say the first phase, titled Noor 1, will be operational in the next few weeks.

The greatest feature of the solar plant is that it will produce constant power even during the night. The Noor complex will use a technology called Concentrating Solar Power (CSP), which is more expensive than the widely used photovoltaic panels, but unlike them, allows storage of energy for nights and cloudy days.

It uses mirrors to focus the sun’s light and heat up a liquid, which is mixed with water and reaches a temperature close to 400°C. This produces steam, which drives a turbine to generate electrical power.

It’s hoped that the project, officially launched by Morocco’s King Mohammed VI in 2013, will reduce carbon emissions by 700,000 tons per year and even generate an energy surplus for export.

Morocco heavily depends on fossil fuel imports, which currently provide over 97% of its energy, making the country vulnerable to their fluctuating price.

In Sub-Saharan Africa only 24% of the population has access to electricity, which is the worst rate in the world. Excluding South Africa, the region’s entire installed generation capacity is similar to that of Argentina.


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