Morocco's King Mohammed VI inaugurated Noor 1, the first phase of what will become the largest concentrated solar power plant in the world, in a ceremony attended by world and industry leaders on Thursday near the Moroccan city of Ouarzazate. At completion, the 580 MW complex will provide clean electricity for more than one million people, helping Morocco reach its goal of generating 42% of the country's energy needs from renewable sources by 2020 and 52% by 2030.
Morocco, which is scheduled to host the next Conference of Parties to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (COP22) in Marrakesh this November, is frequently lauded as a leader in renewable energy and climate change policy. The 2016 Climate Performance Index ranked Morocco among the top ten countries making the most progress in addressing climate change and number one among "newly industrialized countries," citing the country as one that shows "the potential of developing countries to move forward." The World Bank has said that "at a time when many economies are exhausting their natural resources and face constraints exacerbated by climate change, Morocco is setting an example by designing and embracing green growth strategies across sectors," noting that "the right to a healthy environment and sustainable development has been enshrined in Morocco's constitution since 2011."
As King Mohammed VI noted in a speech at COP21 in Paris last November, Morocco's "proactive policy on sustainable development and environmental protection" encompasses a wide range of policies. These include energy subsidy reforms, coastal zoning, pollution and waste regulation, fisheries management, dam and watershed development, climate-smart agricultural practices, and beyond.
Marie-Francoise Marie Nelly, World Bank Country Director for the Maghreb and Malta, has said of Morocco, "What's encouraging is that in all these areas there is a deliberate choice and clear policies that have been spelled out by the government, and they are actually walking the talk in terms of putting the resources and in terms of implementation."
"Today's launch in Ouarzazate means more and cleaner energy for Morocco, but also potentially for Africa," said former US Ambassador to Morocco Edward M. Gabriel. "Let's not forget that just three years ago, President Obama launched Power Africa to bring electricity to hundreds of millions of Africans. Morocco's commitment to renewable energy is yet another example of how Morocco and the US share a common vision for the region."
Source: Moroccan American Center for Policy
Date: Feb 4, 2016