The Guardian reports that the first phase of Ouarzazate Solar Power Station is complete and was inaugurated last week by King Mohammed VI. The first phase, Noor 1, represents roughly a third of the 580MW capacity the plant when it is completed. By the time it is finished the power station will cover an area the size of Rabat, the capital, and provide electricity for roughly 1.1 million people.
The project represents a significant investment for the North African state. The completed plant is estimated to cost $9 bn, roughly $3.9bn has been invested in Ouarzazate by international banks, including $596m from the European Investment Bank and $400m from the World Bank.
Mafalda Duarte, manager of Climate Investment Funds (CIF), which provided a significant portion of the project’s funding, says highlights that this is a significant project in Africa:
“Morocco knew their demand for electricity was growing at 7% a year and that they were dependent on imports for 97% of that energy,” Duarte said. “They had a vision to promote renewables at a time when oil prices were high and they undertook regulatory reforms, put institutions in place, and they have done a great job.”