NOOR CONCENTRATED SOLAR POWER PLANT IN BRIEF

The Noor Concentrated Solar Power (CSP) complex is Morocco’s first utility-scale solar energy complex and serves as a critical step of the Moroccan Solar Energy Program. It will be operated as a public-private partnership (PPP.) The private partner is the International Company for Water and Power Projects.

The project seeks to contribute to the commercial viability of CSP and its potential throughout MENA (Middle East and North Africa). Operating with an installed capacity of 160 megawatts (MW), the first phase expects 240,000 tons of CO₂ emissions to be avoided per annum. By 2018, the three-phase project will be the largest of its kind in the world with over 500 MW of installed capacity, and will produce enough clean power to meet the needs of 1.1 million Moroccans. 

EXPECTED IMPACTS

  • The plant will reduce carbon emissions by 760,000 tons per year, which could result in an estimated reduction of over 17.5 million tons of carbon emissions over 25 years.

  • The share of renewable energy in total electricity generation is expected to increase from 4,345 GWh (13%) in 2013 to a target of 5,501 GWh (42%) by 2020.

  • Energy dependency should be reduced through additional electricity production from the 160 MW Noor I and the 350 MW Noor II and III in 2018.

  • Reaching Morocco’s true energy efficiency potential will prospectively pave the way for economic growth and ultimately generate employment.

PROJECT BENEFICIARIES

The project site is situated 10 km from Ouarzazate town along National Highway No. 10. The surrounding rural area accommodates a population of approximately 583,000 inhabitants and has a poverty rate of almost 23%. The project beneficiaries will be the Moroccan population, Moroccan businesses, and all productive sectors (industries, transport, agriculture, etc.), which benefit not only from better electricity supply but also from cleaner electricity.

THE CLIMATE INVESTMENT FUNDS’ CONTRIBUTION

The CIF, AfDB and World Bank have jointly supported the 500+MW Noor solar complex, which has been championed by Morocco’s Agency for Solar Energy (MASEN). The CIF channeled $435 million towards the CSP plant, alongside the investment of about $700 million by the AfDB and World Bank, contributing to the $3+ billion total from foreign and multilateral investors. Given the scale of public finance required to subsidize this multi-billion-dollar, three-phase complex, the support of both MDBs and the CIF was critical. Independent analysis concludes that the low-cost debt is already driving down the cost of CSP in Morocco by 25% for Noor I and an additional 10% for Noor II and III (achieved in 2015), thus reducing the government subsidy required to bridge the affordability gap for CSP.

MOROCCO IN ENERGY CONTEXT

Morocco is extremely dependent on energy imports and fossil fuels, which currently provide over 97% of its energy. The country has prioritized the development of renewable energy to achieve its economic and environmental objectives of energy security and environmental sustainability.

Morocco will host the next COP (COP22) in November 2016. The country's ambitious low carbon growth objectives (42% of installed capacity will be covered by renewables by 2020) and progress in adaptation actions to manage its vulnerability (especially in agriculture) contributed to the Parties’ decision to allow Morocco to host the COP.

ABOUT THE CLIMATE INVESTMENT FUNDS (CIF)

The $8.1 billion Climate Investment Funds (CIF) is providing 72 developing countries with urgently needed resources to mitigate and manage the challenges of climate change and reduce their greenhouse gas emissions. Since 2008, CIF has been leading efforts to empower transformations in energy, transport, and forestry sectors and CIF’s funding has leveraged more than $55 billion from other sources.

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For CIF media queries, please contact Angela Bekkers at abekkers@worldbankgroup.org