Morocco Brings 160 MW of Concentrating Solar Online
The first 160-megawatt segment of Morocco’s two-gigawatt Noor concentrating solar plant is now connected to the grid.
The $9-billion project, located in Ouarzazate province, will be the largest CSP facility in Africa or the Middle East when it is complete.
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“Construction on the first phase of the enormous grid-connected project began about four years ago,” CleanTechnica reports. “The next two phases of the project—each scheduled to total 350 MW—are expected to be completed and connected to the grid by 2018,” with the final phases going online in 2020.
Citing RenewEconomy, Lindon reports that Morocco currently relies on fossil fuel imports to meet 98% of its energy needs, but is aiming for a 52% renewable energy target over the next 15 years. While the World Bank predicts significant cost reductions as the project unfolds, Bloomberg New Energy Finance analyst Jenny Chase says Noor’s performance over a five- to 25-year stretch could make or break the reputation of concentrated solar.
“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,” she said.