Masen, the Moroccan Agency for Sustainable Energy, spearheads the first large-scale capture of solar energy in the Middle East and North Africa, a bold initiative to make solar power affordable and reduce the country’s dependence on high-carbon imports.
The first phase of the Moroccan Solar Plan NOOR, the NOOR Ouarzazate I, a 160 MW concentrated solar power plant, came online early this year. When complete, it will be one of the biggest facilities of its kind in the world. It will reduce the country’s fossil fuel dependence by about 2.5 million tons of oil a year, and could eventually export renewable energy to neighbouring countries.
Masen was created in 2010 to coordinate the solar development strategy of the country’s renewable energy plan, alongside the National Office of Electricity and Potable Water.
The Kingdom of Morocco has traditionally been the largest importer of fossil fuels in the region - depending on foreign sources for over 97 per cent of its energy - and Masen is instrumental in helping to turn that around.
Masen leads projects aimed at creating an additional 3,000 MW of clean electricity generation capacity by 2020, and a further 6,000 MW thereafter. The overarching national goal is to secure 52 per cent of the country’s energy mix from renewable sources by 2030.
The first NOOR project is under construction in one of Morocco’s most disadvantaged regions, creating thousands of jobs and providing training and community development programmes for the region’s inhabitants, as well as indirect employment and other benefits.
Masen aims to share its best practices in order to boost the development of renewable energy in countries that have the potential, but not yet the ability, to harness the power of the sun.