Senior Editor
Photo: Graeme Robertson for the Guardian

This is what the future needs to look like. Photo: Graeme Robertson for the Guardian

The Inertia

Solar power is the way of the future. Everyone knows it. It’s happening, despite the desperate oppositions of the big businesses that are lining their pockets with oil money. A few days ago, the world’s largest solar plant flipped the on-switch, hopefully kicking off a large scale change in the way we run our world.

In Morocco, on the edge of the Sahara, a power station is under construction. When it’s done, it will the size of Rabat, the country’s capital. If all goes well, by 2018 the plant will provide enough electricity for over a million people.

A few days ago, the king of Morocco, King Mohammed VI, had the honor of turning on the first testing phase of the solar plant, called Noor 1. Near the town of Ouarzazate, it generates 160 megawatts that are pumped into Morocco’s power grid. Even the test phase will eliminate hundreds of thousands of tons of carbon emissions every year.

“The king will press a button, the parabolic mirrors will start turning, the heat will begin to turn the turbines and the plant will come to life,” said Maha el-Kadiri, a spokeswoman for Masen, Morocco’s renewable energy agency.


When the plant is working, it will “initially provide 650,000 local people with solar electricity from dawn until three hours after sunset,” according to The Guardian.

It is a very, very significant project in Africa,” said Mafalda Duarte, the manager of Climate Investment Funds (CIF). “Morocco is showing real leadership and bringing the cost of the technology down in the process.”

By 2020, Morocco plans on creating nearly half of all of its energy from renewables. A third of that will come from solar, wind, and hydro-power.

So far, the plant has attracted almost $4 billion from investors around the globe. If all goes to plan, the energy created will not only power Morocco, but be funneled to Europe and east, towards Mecca.

With any luck, this will prove to be the catalyst that moves our species into a new age of energy. We need it.



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