Moroccan city of Quarzazate between the Atlas Mountain and vast Sahara on the edge is known as a film destination but in just two and half years, the Morocco power company – Moroccan Solar Energy Agency (MASEN) has turned this beautiful city as a model for the world by setting up the world’s largest solar power plant.
As you enter the city of Quarzazate, you will get the vibes of Hollywood movie – ‘Lawrence of Arabia’ and TV shows like ‘Games of Thrones’ but the shooting destination has more to offer for any visitors.
The plant known as – Noor Solar Plant attracts tourists, researchers, scientists, politicians and bureaucrats. If you are in Morocco, this plant is a must visit.
Located in the south – central Morocco, the 9 billion-dollar power project was conceptualized in 2013. The plant uses vast arrays of mirrors, rather than the more widely used photovoltaic panels, to produce electricity from sunlight.
At the beginning of 2016, the first phase of the project was complete and became operational in a record time. It generates 160 megawatt of electricity.
Spread over 5000 acres of land, the project is set to finish by 2018. It will produce 580 megawatts, which will meet the needs of 1.1 million Moroccans. The officials at MASEN say that the World Bank, European Union has funded the ambitious project, which will meet 52 per cent power demand of Morocco, a country in North Africa along the Mediterranean Sea. It is expected to reduce carbon emissions by an estimated 760,000 tons per year.
‘This makes Morocco a big pioneer in the field of solar energy in the Arab region and the African continent,’ says Ali Hajji, a Moroccan solar-energy specialist and engineering professor at IAV Hassan II in Rabat, Morocco.
The plant, which has become the centre of attraction for global energy leaders and activists say that Morocco has shown the lesson to the world on its commitments to produce power from renewable energy.
The Moroccan power company believes that the plant will reduce their dependency on fossil fuels and their share of renewable energy in total electricity generation will increase from 13 per cent to 42 per cent. They also believe that the project will positively impact the surrounding area. Approximately 583,000 people live in Ouarzazate – 10km (6.2 miles) from the site. The poverty rate there is 23% but the hope is that the cleaner energy and better supply will reduce the occurrence of flickering lightbulbs and malfunctioning hospital equipment.
At COP22 India has projected to the world about its ambitious solar power and renewable projects and commitment to become 100 per cent electric vehicle nation by 2030.
The impressive renewable project at Tamil Nadu on completion will become world’s second largest and one of the world’s largest onshore wind farm. India’s commitment is being lauded as it embarks on its plan to deploy 100 GW of solar power by 2022.
But India is still powered by coal, which is a major cause of concern as the world community views it. India is not willing to talk clear on its coal programme and prefers to keep things simple and clear that it is on its transition path and things would fall in place even before 2020.
More than 80 per cent of India’s electricity comes from coal, mostly imported, which accounts for 75 per cent. Last year in Paris conference, India pledged that by 2030 coal would generate only 60 per cent of its electricity. However, this is not because coal plants would be phased out but because more solar and wind farms will meet growing demand.
But experts from across the globe are mounting pressure on all countries to completely put a halt to fossil fuels for a greener future and a world.