Noor, the new African sun
On November 18, COP 22 ended in Marrakesh in a relative anonymity and without any real progress. However, if it is a case that has been commented on and put forward, it is the issue of the new energy policy of the host country that focuses on renewable energies, mainly solar.
NOOR, THE NEW AFRICAN SUN
For several years, the Shereefian kingdom has embarked on an ambitious energy policy in which renewable energies are at the forefront. The government has indeed become aware of the need to change models in the face of the cost of importing unstable and sometimes very high energy. 95% dependent, Morocco sees each year its financial capacities reduced due to purchases of oil and gas from outside.
Faced with this, in 2009 the country set itself the goal of reaching 42% of renewable energies in its electric fleet and even 52% in 2030. A decision wanted by King Mohammed VI at the end of the COP 21 which was held in Paris in December 2015. All the measures are thus part of a national framework. Demonstrating this political will, the right to a healthy environment is now enshrined in the national Constitution.
To succeed in this ambitious challenge, Morocco can rely on scarce resources, immense unoccupied spaces and an inexhaustible solar source that combine within giant solar power plants. And since the beginning of the year, the solar complex “Noor” of Ouarzazate is the illustration. The first tranche consists of 500,000 mirrors on 460 hectares, which represents 160 MW. And it is not over because the project includes four other units to reach a solar capacity of 580 MW in 2020 spread over 3,000 hectares.
This project should serve as an example for all the countries of the African continent that share with Morocco, energy dependency and vast desert spaces. But these investments have a not inconsiderable cost. The project “Noor” costs 9 billion euros, is financed by a loans from international institutions and is operated by a Saudi company. In total, the Moroccan solar and wind program represents 14 billion euros and thousands of hectares available.
Finally, the last parameter to be taken into account is that of employment. The “Noor” project enabled the recruitment of 2,000 workers. More generally, renewable energies in Morocco could generate the creation of 23 000 new jobs in the years to come, against 3 000 currently. The stakes are high, because Morocco suffers full blow of climate disruption. Investing in renewable energies, starting with solar power, is now vital to the country.