There is a solar power station that is 450 hectare, which is roughly 35 soccer fields put together in area . It is located in the north of Morocco in the Sahara. It was started in May 2013 and three years later it is now open and in use. I wondered how it was pulled off and what I learnt amazed me.
The Ouarzazate solar power station is in three parts and the total cost to build a plant this massive was 9 billion dollars. It will harness the sun’s heat and it will melt the salt which will hold heat in the power station turbines. 42% of the energy in Morocco is renewable by 2020.The country runs on 98% fossil fuels, so there had to be an alternate solution. After the Paris climate conference, Morocco promised to cut carbon emissions by 32% by 2030.
The solar plant itself can bring renewable energy to Marrakech for twenty hours a day for a million people. The plant has three phases, also called Noors. The first Noor is open and running in the Quarzazate area and is capable of producing 160 megawatts of power. the second and third ones are not open yet but the construction is confirmed. The solar plant is so large that you can see it from space, so you imagine how helpful it will be once it is completed.
Being the largest solar plant in the world, and it is not even complete, shows big change for renewable energy. It will lower fossil fuel use and it will cut carbon emissions in the future by a long shot. It is a genius idea and it will hopefully spread to other desserts around the world.
Written by Ryan Munro
Sources: NPR CNN BBC The Guardian
(note: Since the time of writing this post we have discovered that there are some things to consider. Why is it that the indigenous people of this land are disputing its development. Some have reported that they were not consulted and that they have been displaced, and that the plant requires copious amounts of water to clean the panels due to the desert sand and dust residue)