We have listed 6 big and small solar-powered projects in the MENA region that have inspired us in the hopes that it will do the same for you.
Big or small, solar-powered projects in the Middle East and North Africa are transforming our region. Not only do they hold promise of slowly improving air quality by reducing our dependence on fossil fuels, but they also send the people who live here both an overt and subliminal message: renewable energy is possible and it is cool. Here are 6 solar-powered projects in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) that make us especially proud – from Desertec’s first 500 MW solar power plant in Morocco to a planned photovoltaic plant in Israel’s sunny south that Arava Power is pushing on the Bedouins’ behalf. If you need hope for our future, this list could help.
The Desertec initiative to establish renewable energy generating plants in North African countries astride the Mediterranean Sea is easily one of the most ambitious and exciting programs in the MENA region. The idea is to run transmission lines under the Sea so that Europe can receive 15% of its energy from North Africa by 2050. After planning and networking for a couple of years, the team finally announced that it’s first project would take root. Green Prophet’s Susan Kraemer wrote, “Desertec’s first link in the chain will be a 500 MW solar power project that will begin construction in Morocco, at an estimated cost of $US 2.8 billion.” Construction begins this year.
Perhaps what we love the most about this project is that little known Algeria is about to become one of the world’s leading producers of solar energy. It has plans to spend no less than $20 billion on renewable energy projects, and DII moved in to seal a deal that ensures Europe will receive part of the spoils. Again from our savvy clean tech writer Susan, “Algeria‘s state-owned Sonelgaz has just signed the third deal in the MENA region to export desert solar power to Europe, with a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) to cooperate with the EuropeanDesertec Initiative (DII) in the export of solar from the country, according to a report at Platts.” Follow the heading to learn more about Algeria’s ambitious clean energy plans.
We can’t sing Kuraymat’s praises enough. Last year, just before the second wave of major protests in Egypt, Green Prophet took a drive with representatives from the Desertec initiative to the country’s first Integrated Solar Combined Cycle (ISCC) power plant just south of Cairo, which has been feeding energy into the grid since July, 2011. A 150MW plant that produces energy all day and all night, it is currently overseen by Egyptian contractors Orascom, who hope to eventually produce their own components in order to enable similar projects in the future. Check out our exclusive pictures of this groundbreaking project.
Even though we reported today that the United States leads the world in clean energy investment under Obama, we always get a kick out when countries in our region – stereotypically behind in the race to invest in renewable energy projects – outshine the rest. This was definitely the case last year when the Obama administration had a chance to return Jimmy Carter’s solar panels to the White House roof but didn’t and then shortly thereafter HH Mohammed bin Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan – the ruler of one of the world’s most oil-rich nations – crowned his court with an array of active photovoltaic panels.
Although Israel has long been a leader in the solar energy industry with BrightSource Energy energizing California and AORA doing the same in Spain with their gorgeous Tulip-shaped tower, we thought it would be neat to highlight a couple of smaller projects in the country that are having a resounding impact – including a wonderful boy’s school initiative that has been producing 40 kilowatts per hour since July last year. Not only is the school providing all of its own energy using rooftop solar panels, but 48 other schools in the city have pledged to follow suit.
If you read nothing but mainstream news and never set foot in Israel, it would be easy to believe that all Israelis are evil and that Arabs and Jews are always at each other’s necks. But this isn’t the case at all. In fact, many Israelis ashamed of their government’s poor policy take it upon themselves to restore justice – including Arava Power. “Sixty percent of the country happens to be desert, and 30 percent of the [desert] inhabitants happen to be Bedouin,” the company’s president Yosef Abramowitz told our Chief Editor Karin Kloosterman. Mostly thanks to his efforts, a $30 million photovoltaic (PV) solar installation next to the Israeli Bedouin community of Tarabin is coming closer to reality. Find out more by hitting the headline.
More Inspiring Renewable Energy Projects in the MENA Region: