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Morocco….land of spices and the world’s largest solar power plant

marakkesh

I went to the gateway to Africa expecting to be transported into a magical land of colorful architecture (all of the buildings in Marrakesh are painted a terracotta red) and delicious spices (have you ever tried tagine?). This emerging economy, Africa’s 6th largest, is dominated by fishing, mining, and agriculture (significantly oranges, argan oil, cannabis!)

Little did I know that I would be awed and inspired by this country’s commitment to the environment.

In the recent past, Morocco has extended the urban tram networks in Rabat and Casablanca, launched Africa’s first bicycle for hire system, and banned the use of disposable plastic bags.  And then there’s the Kingdom’s comprehensive plan to develop renewable energy – from solar energy to hydroelectric power to wind power.

Did you know that Morocco has launched the world’s largest solar power plant in the Sahara Desert? The project, called Noor (meaning light in Arabic) turns 3000 hours of sunlight per year into electricity and gives power to over one million people. The goal is that 40% of the country will be powered by renewable energy by 2040.

In this exotic land of rich culture and rugged mountains and desert storms, my conversations with locals always seemed to touch on the King’s plans for natural energy sources.  Moroccans are proud, and proud they should be.

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