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Morocco is responding to increasing energy demands by setting up one of the largest solar plants in the world.

The Noor solar power station is located in the city of Ouarzazate and, once completed, will generate 580 megawatts of electricity. The World Bank estimates it will serve 1.1 million people. It’s scheduled to be completed in 2018.

Morocco’s current energy sources come mostly from imports. The nation hopes to source 50 percent of its energy from renewable sources by 2030. With demand for energy rising at an annual rate of 7 percent, the new solar plant could be a crucial part of that goal.

“This makes Morocco a big pioneer in the field of solar energy in the Arab region and the African continent. It could also be a pioneer for many other countries in the world that depend on foreign imports of energy,” said Ali Hajji, a solar energy specialist and engineering professor.

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Experts believe that the Middle East and North Africa have huge potential for solar energy projects, partly because of adequate sunlight and partly because technology has become more affordable in the region.

“The last few years have seen a realization of just how competitive solar technologies can be,” said Michael Taylor, a senior analyst at the International Renewable Energy Agency (Brooke Anderson, Wall Street Journal, Sept. 13).

Reprinted with permission from E&E Publishing

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