So much of the conversation about clean energy debate focuses around the big boys – the U.S., China, the G8 – but it would behoove us to remember there are interesting efforts afoot in many parts of the globe.
I was reminded of that after coming across an article about the solar transformation underway in Morocco.
To be sure, Morocco’s not the largest country in the world – with about 31 million residents, it’s the 38th largest, according to the CIA Factbook. But that doesn’t mean it can’t make a difference.
Firmly ensconced within the world’s Sunshine Belt (very roughly the tropics and sub-tropics, plus some other bordering regions), Morocco is extremely suited to both develop and export solar power. According to the article from the World Bank (which has loaned Morocco $200 million to develop the plant):
The first plant is under construction in the Ouarzazate plateau, south of the Atlas Mountains. Using Concentrated Solar Power (CSP) technology, the full Ouarzazate plant will be a 500 MW facility, one of the largest of its kind in the world, with an initial 160 MW capacity due to come on line in 2014.
The plant would theoretically allow Morocco to avoid 240,000 tons of carbon dioxide emissions — equal to removing 80,000 cars from the roads in one year. That’s nothing to sneeze at. And that’s just one plant. The interesting thing is, it behooves the Arab world to look into solar more, too – they make up a large part of the oil reserves, and the economy of many nations in North Africa and the Mideast depends on it. But as more nations turn to alternative power sources, they’re positioned well to make the switch to solar – plentiful sun, low humidity and vast open spaces for solar installations.
This infographic that accompanied the World Bank story has some interesting details about the project. And helps serve as a good reminder that there’s interesting things being done with solar in many parts of the world.