The inauguration ceremony for the Noor-1 concentrating solar power plant has been called off. It was scheduled for December 27, 2015, and no explanation was given for the cancellation. Noor-1 is the first phase of an bigger CSP project that will have a capacity of 580 MW when completed. It is located in desert land 200 kilometers south of Marrakesh near Ouarzazate in Morocco. Construction of Noor-1 began in 2013. In 2014, it was reported that Flabeg FE had supplied over 500,000 mirrors for the project, which also uses parabolic troughs. The project’s developers are Aries, ACWA Power, and TSK.
According to NREL, the thermal energy storage capacity is 3 hours. This amount might not sound like a lot, but it is much better than nothing. Also, Noor-2 and 3 reportedly will have the ability to store energy for up to 8 hours. These two phases are supposed to be completed in 2016 and 2017.
Ivanpah CSP plant in the US reportedly has a capacity of 392 MW, so Morocco’s project is much larger. BrightSource, Ivanpah’s developer explained that the huge CSP plant required an education process along the way, “Ivanpah is a new plant, and the first of its kind at this scale. A performance “learning curve” has always been planned since the project’s earliest stages, which is normal for a thermal power plant of any kind. As a result, it is misleading to compare an initial ramp up period with a “mature year” output projected for 2018 onward. And it’s important to remember Ivanpah’s performance is measured on a cumulative annual basis, not monthly, as presented in the story.”
Constructing and getting such a huge solar power plant up and running is not an easy task, so perhaps one would expect some delays.
Morocco’s imported fossil fuel dependency is about 95% and electricity consumption is growing each year at the rate of about 7%. Therefore, it is of great important to the country that it moves toward the use of more renewable energy.