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Morocco building world’s largest solar-powered desalination plant


While the Moroccan plan to build one of the world’s largest Concentrated Solar Power (CSP) plants at Noor Ouarzazate has received much publicity, and was discussed at length in Chapter 7 in Global Green Shift, a new twist has been added to the story to give it added relevance. In the (northern) summer of 2017 the Spanish firm Abengoa announced that it had signed an agreement with a Moroccan government agency to link the CSP plant to the world’s largest desalination plant. Here is the story as posted yesterday to North African Post (http://northafricapost.com/19201-morocco-build-world-largest-desalination-plant.html). A few days ago the ever-vigilant German public news agency DW (formerly Deutsche Welle) carried the same story making the point that major cost advantages occur when the energy generating capacity of the CSP plant is linked to the fresh water production capacity of the desal plant (http://www.dw.com/en/making-seawater-into-drinking-water-with-the-help-of-the-sun/a-39924334).

The DW story reveals the obstacles involved in diffusing desalination to become a worldwide source of fresh water, but seems to bypass the point that solar-powered desalination plants like that in Morocco (with Abengoa utilizing the advanced Reverse Osmosis technology) avoid the cost disadvantages of traditional approaches. This is the power of synergy, with renewable energy sources powering advanced desalination sources in suitable locations (such as by the sea in Morocco) at costs unreachable by either technology alone. When conditions allow it makes so much sense to move ahead with combined water and renewable energy projects feeding off each other. When added eventually to powering and watering green food production systems on the model of Sundrop Farms (also discussed in Global Green Shift in Chapter 16) then this positive ‘triple nexus’ approach to providing for energy, water and food for the planet becomes an unbeatable combination.


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