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Down to Earth: Morocco, Kingdom of Sun

This is a short video about Morocco, a beautiful country basking in sunlight but banking on its future with a massive solar power investment.

Morocco is a gateway to Africa, and a country of dizzying diversity. With epic mountain ranges, ancient cities, sweeping deserts like the Sahara it really is a country of astounding beauty and also rich in natural sunlight. However all that glitters is not gold because Morocco is also in the middle of a natural crisis. The king has given the go ahead for a massive solar power project (the biggest in the world) which will cost 630 million euros on its first phase.

Fossil fuel poor morocco is looking for other ways to energise its country. Its abundance in natural sunlight is perfectly suited for solar energy. Morocco is working on utilising the natural power of the sun to get its electricity which is a great green idea. Green light construction has been given the go ahead by the Moroccan king. Jobs are lacking so this initiative is perfect for the country. Morocco has begun to construct the giant scale solar energy plants. Morocco has invested in the world’s most expensive solar energy plant equipment. 88 hectares of curved mirrors are collecting and converting sunlight and it’s so far the largest solar plant in Africa. If all goes to plan on the first phase, the project will bring in 500 megawatts of electricity.

It’s called “concentrated solar technology”. The technology is more efficient than photovoltaic energy because it can capture the maximum amount of rays from the sun. Parabolic cylinder mirrors allow them to reflect the rays onto a receptor tube that contains a special fluid which is then transported to a heat recovery system generator to produce electricity. At the end of the process the energy is taken straight to the national grid.

The main advantage is that the system can store and convert electricity long after the sun has set. People living just a few kilometres from the plant still live in solar energy. Most Moroccans have access to electricity but the government spends millions on imports of fossil fuels. Program will help Morocco avoid 3.7million tonnes of co2 emissions. Moreover it will allow them to reduce the consumption of combustible fossil fuels and to preserve the environment.

However some question whether it is a wise investment because of how costly the equipment is. It’s a massive risk to take by the Moroccan king but the question is will the risk pay off? Only time will tell. The machinery that’s been invested in should be a massive help to those living in rural parts of morocco but rural farmers have been setting up their own solar powered plants to power their own farms. In addition Moroccan university has created its own major focused entirely on renewable energy. It is clear that Morocco is a forward thinking country and is trying to move forward in the world with green ideas. There are agricultural entrepreneurs that have set up their own solar panels to use electricity to use a solar pump to withdraw water from deep in the ground.

It is evident by the plethora of entrepreneurial endeavors that Morocco is not shy in testing and trying new greener ways to produce energy for all of its countries inhabitants, the question is what will work and what won’t. Will Morocco become a leading African country that succeeds at renewable energy production or will it fail miserably and be stuck with a massive white elephant somewhat like the London Olympic stadiums. Time will tell.

By Alex Mitchison

Links: https://www.iea.org/countries/non-membercountries/morocco/

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Energy_policy_of_Morocco

http://www.worldbank.org/en/news/feature/2016/11/08/learning-from-morocco-why-invest-in-concentrated-solar-power

 

 

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