Morocco sees 12% of power from sun by 2020

September 11, 2012
A Moroccan engineer cycles past the panels of the solar power station at Ain Beni Mathar near Oujda. Morocco said Tuesday it is "very confident" of finding the investment needed to build vast solar power plants in its southern desert regions and become a world-class solar energy producer.

Morocco said Tuesday it is "very confident" of finding the investment needed to build vast solar power plants in its southern desert regions and become a world-class solar energy producer.

"Our target is that in 2020, 42 percent of our power supply will come from renewable , including 14 percent from solar," Deputy Energy Minister Mohammed Zniber told AFP on the sidelines of a conference in Marrakesh.

"At the moment we have only one solar installation, in the east of Morocco, at Ain Beni Mathar, with an installed capacity of 20 megawatts."

But Zniber said the country expects to build five new over the next eight years, with a combined production capacity of 2,000 megawatts and at an estimated cost of "less than 9 billion dollars."

"We are sure that a lot of investors will be interested and that we can find the money for these projects. We are very confident about that," he added.

Morocco is experiencing a surge in energy demand in 2012, with to rise by 10 percent, according to Zniber, up from 6.5 percent in recent years.

Unlike its North African neighbours, the kingdom has no hydrocarbon reserves to speak of, forcing it to spend billions of dollars each year on fuel imports and relying on Spain to supply its needs via two interconnectors.

But this has also spurred Morocco into positioning itself as a world-class producer of renewable energy, harnessing the power in particular of the wind and the sun, both abundantly available.

The at Ain Beni Mathar is a hybrid plant—solar and gas—but the new plants will use only the sun, with the first, located near the desert frontier town of Ouarzazate, to have a 500 megawatt production capacity.

"This is the biggest project of its kind in the world," said Obaid Amrane, from the Moroccan Agency for Solar Energy (MASEN), explaining that it was being built in two phases and, when completed in 2015, would cover 3,000 hectares.

Explore further: Taiwan unveils Asia's biggest solar plant: govt

Related Stories

Taiwan unveils Asia's biggest solar plant: govt

December 23, 2009

Taiwan has unveiled what it calls Asia's biggest solar power plant as the island, which imports almost all its energy, seeks to tap into clean renewable resources, the government said Wednesday.

Africa's biggest wind farm opens in Morocco

June 28, 2010

Morocco's King Mohammed VI inaugurated Monday a 250-million-euro (300 million dollar) wind farm near Tangiers, which an official source said was the biggest in Africa.

Morocco promotes solar energy with plane landing

June 6, 2012

(AP) -- Morocco's ambitious and expensive plan to draw 40 percent of its energy needs from the limitless power of its blazing sun by 2020 received a publicity boost this week as the first solar powered plane to make an intercontinental ...

Recommended for you

Smart home heating and cooling

August 28, 2015

Smart temperature-control devices—such as thermostats that learn and adjust to pre-programmed temperatures—are poised to increase comfort and save energy in homes.

Smallest 3-D camera offers brain surgery innovation

August 28, 2015

To operate on the brain, doctors need to see fine details on a small scale. A tiny camera that could produce 3-D images from inside the brain would help surgeons see more intricacies of the tissue they are handling and lead ...

Team creates functional ultrathin solar cells

August 27, 2015

(Phys.org)—A team of researchers with Johannes Kepler University Linz in Austria has developed an ultrathin solar cell for use in lightweight and flexible applications. In their paper published in the journal Nature Materials, ...

Interactive tool lifts veil on the cost of nuclear energy

August 24, 2015

Despite the ever-changing landscape of energy economics, subject to the influence of new technologies and geopolitics, a new tool promises to root discussions about the cost of nuclear energy in hard evidence rather than ...

2 comments

Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

VendicarD
5 / 5 (1) Sep 11, 2012
The world moves onward.

Conservative America enters a Neocon Dark Era of anti-progress.

antialias_physorg
5 / 5 (2) Sep 11, 2012
But Zniber said the country expects to build five new solar plants over the next eight years, with a combined production capacity of 2,000 megawatts and at an estimated cost of "less than 9 billion dollars."

Well, Morocco is a prime candidate for the DESERTEC initiative. Relatively stable and with a very short stretch for power lines to Europe via Gibraltar. So there should be little trouble in getting the money to build this stuff.

Any country in that region could give their economy a boost if they invest in the werewithal to produce solar energy (as well as store and transport it).

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.