Morocco launches first solar power plant

February 4, 2016
Moroccan King Mohammed VI (C) waves the Moroccan flag as he inaugurates the Noor 1 Concentrated Solar Power plant, some 20 kilom
Moroccan King Mohammed VI (C) waves the Moroccan flag as he inaugurates the Noor 1 Concentrated Solar Power plant, some 20 kilometres (12.5 miles) outside the central Moroccan town of Ouarzazate on February 4, 2016

King Mohammed VI on Thursday inaugurated Morocco's first solar power plant, a massive project that the country sees as part of its goal of boosting its clean energy output.

French Environment Minister Segolene Royal was among foreign and local officials who attended the opening on the edge of the Sahara desert, around 20 kilometres (12 miles) outside Ouarzazate.

"The solar plant underlines the country's determination to reduce dependence on fossil fuels, use more renewable energy, and move towards low carbon development," its developers said in a statement.

With an electricity production capacity of 160 megawatts, Noor 1 is supposed to allow Morocco to significantly reduce emissions of greenhouse gases.

The project's next phases—Noor 2 and Noor 3—are to follow this year and next, and a call for tenders is open for Noor 4.

Once all phases are complete, it is to be "the largest concentrated in the world" and produce 500 megawatts of electricity, providing power to more than one million Moroccans by 2018, its developers said.

It is to reduce Morocco's carbon emissions by 760,000 tonnes per year, they added.

That would be equivalent to around one percent of Morocco's CO2 emissions of around 56.5 million tonnes in 2011, according to World Bank figures.

Morocco launched construction of Noor 1 in 2013, at a cost of 600 million euros ($660 million) and involving roughly 1,000 workers.

Spread over an area equivalent to more than 600 football pitches, the plant's half a million metal mirrors follow the sun as it moves across the sky.

They store thermal energy from its rays and use it to activate steam turbines that produce electricity.

Morocco has scarce oil and gas reserves, and is the biggest importer of in the Middle East and North Africa.

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6 comments

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Lord_jag
3.7 / 5 (6) Feb 04, 2016
160 Megawatts for 600 million dollars.

That's pretty close to the maintenance costs of a nuclear power plant that needs a 12.8 Billion dollar infusion to continue making 4800 MW, except it doesn't need fuel, couldn't possible have nuclear meltdown, doesn't need an existing nuclear reactor and doesn't produce deadly toxic nuclear waste that must be guarded for a million years.

Good deal.
WillieWard
2.3 / 5 (3) Feb 04, 2016
Solar power plant connected to electric grid so that fossil-fuels power plants can compensate the intermittency.

Good deal.
WillieWard
2.3 / 5 (3) Feb 04, 2016
"Spread over an area equivalent to more than 600 football pitches, the plant's half a million metal mirrors follow the sun as it moves across the sky."
It is an ecologically friendly way to stop nasty birds from breathing out CO2 into the environment by cooking them in midair, surely it will help Morocco to reduce carbon emissions.
RealScience
3 / 5 (4) Feb 06, 2016
Solar power plant connected to electric grid so that fossil-fuels power plants can compensate the intermittency.

...

It is an ecologically friendly way to stop nasty birds from breathing out CO2 into the environment by cooking them in midair


@WW - did you miss the part about storing thermal energy?

They store thermal energy from its rays and use it to activate steam turbines that produce electricity.


While Noor 1 only has 3 hours of thermal storage, Noor 2 and Noor 3 will have enough to allow 20-hour/day generation.

As for the birds, you are thinking a power towers, which has a huge ~1000-suns focus.
Noor 1 is a parabolic trough plant, which has a only has a ~70x focus that a bird can fly across in less than a second and not even get hot.

I understand that you are going to criticize anything other than nukes, but could you at least make the effort to criticize the TYPE of solar technology that the ARTICLE is about?
WillieWard
3 / 5 (2) Feb 07, 2016
"Spread over an area equivalent to more than 600 football pitches, the plant's half a million metal mirrors follow the sun as it moves across the sky."
"Nuclear plants are more environmentally friendly in many respects than wind or solar plants as they take up far less space and don't require new development."
http://dailycalle...r-plant/
RealScience
5 / 5 (1) Feb 07, 2016
WW - thank you for at least addressing the type of solar that the article is about.

Your link relies on the IEA analysis for 2030. That analysis calls for increases in both 'other renewables' (505 MTOE) and nuclear (418 MTOE) between 2013 and 2030, so even if you are pro-nuke you do not need to blindly fight renewables.

There certainly are places where solar makes less sense than nuclear - submarines would be a perfect example.
And solar taking up space would eventually be a problem in a place like Hong Kong.

But the article is on Noor 1, and even with Noor 1's low efficiency, to supply 100% of Morocco's electricity would only be 70 km2 in a country of 445,000 km2, or <0.02% of the country.

Now take a look at Noor 1 that the article is about: http://earthobser...id=87293
It is right in the middle of a pretty bleak part of the Sahara desert.
Do you REALLY think that 'taking up space' is a problem at Noor 1's site?

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