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Morocco and California Lead the Way in Replacing Fossil Fuels With Renewable Energy
California and Morocco are starkly different places, but not when it comes to energy.
Both are charting radical paths to replace fossil fuels with clean energy—and they’re pulling it off.
As climate negotiators scramble this week to keep their bold carbon reducing agreement on track at COP21, they can draw lots of inspiration from these two regions that are both embarking to get half of their energy from green power by 2030.
While California has been working at it longer and is already halfway to its goal, Morocco is moving aggressively to catch up. A big step will come in late December when it opens the first phase of a massive concentrated solar power (CSP) plant covering a space roughly the size of its capital city, Rabat. Upon completion in 2017, the huge parabolic mirrors in the shimmering Sahara Desert will bring power to 1 million Moroccans.
Abdelkader Amara, Morocco’s energy minster, said the impetus for the country’s bold green ambitions was a weariness of relying on imported energy, virtually all of it from fossil fuels. “To reduce our energy dependency, we realized we had a promising reservoir which focused on solar and wind,” said Amara, who joined California Gov. Jerry Brown at a Re-Energizing the Future event Sunday in Paris.
But, of course, projects don’t just arise like miracles in the desert; they need supportive policies.
“We eliminated all subsidies to fossil fuels,” Amara said, describing a suite of regulatory steps that have help attract substantial public and private investment. “It required political courage, but it sent a strong message.”
Other key measures were opening up Morocco’s electric sector to private companies and enabling power purchase agreements, which are long-term guarantees that the state will buy power being generated. Morocco is also making sure to get competitive bids—called international tenders—which have also helped to keep project costs down.
An area where Amara and Brown found especially strong consensus was the importance of energy storage.
One of the advantages of Morocco’s concentrated solar projects is it stores the heat energy in molten sands for up to three hours, thus enabling power to be used during peak demand. The project’s next two phases will store power for even longer.
Energy storage is also a key linchpin of Brown’s bold green ambitions in California. “You can't just have solar PVs, you need the grid, you need the storage,” Brown said.
Gov. Brown passed state legislation requiring electric utilities to secure 1,300 megawatts of energy storage capacity by 2022. Despite early skepticism, utilities such as Southern California Edison have already exceeded expectations by securing more than 250 megawatts last year alone.
With results like that, it’s no wonder there’s lots of optimism that global leaders will reach a strong climate agreement this week that will put countries all over the world on the same green path as California and Morocco.
“What we do expect from COP21? We expect binding emission-reduction targets for all 195 countries to limit global temperature rise to 2 degrees Celsius,” said Jean-Louis Bal, president of the Syndicate for Renewable Energy of France. “Replacing fossil fuels with renewable energy is the most effective way to achieve this.”
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Cabin fever is often associated with being cooped up on a rainy weekend or stuck inside during a winter blizzard.
In reality, though, it can actually occur anytime you feel isolated or disconnected from the outside world.
What is cabin fever?<p>In popular expressions, cabin fever is used to explain feeling bored or listless because you've been stuck inside for a few hours or days. But that's not the reality of the symptoms.</p><p>Instead, cabin fever is a series of negative emotions and distressing sensations people may face if they're isolated or feeling cut off from the world.</p><p>These feelings of isolation and loneliness are more likely in times of <a href="https://www.healthline.com/health-news/yes-covid-19-cases-are-rising-why-you-still-need-to-practice-social-distancing" target="_blank">social distancing</a>, self-quarantining during a <a href="https://www.healthline.com/health/what-is-a-pandemic" target="_blank">pandemic</a>, or sheltering in place because of severe weather.</p><p>Indeed, cabin fever can lead to a series of symptoms that can be difficult to manage without proper coping techniques.</p><p>Cabin fever isn't a recognized psychological disorder, but that doesn't mean the feelings aren't real. The distress is very real. It can make fulfilling the requirements of everyday life difficult.</p>
What are the symptoms?<p>Symptoms of cabin fever go far beyond feeling bored or "stuck" at home. They're rooted in an intense feeling of isolation and may include:</p><ul><li>restlessness</li><li>decreased motivation</li><li><a href="https://www.healthline.com/health/irritability" target="_blank">irritability</a></li><li>hopelessness</li><li><a href="https://www.healthline.com/health/unable-to-concentrate" target="_blank">difficulty concentrating</a></li><li><a href="https://www.healthline.com/health/irregular-sleep-wake-syndrome" target="_blank">irregular sleep patterns</a>, including sleepiness or sleeplessness</li><li>difficulty waking up</li><li><a href="https://www.healthline.com/health/lethargy" target="_blank">lethargy</a></li><li>distrust of people around you</li><li>lack of patience</li><li>persistent <a href="https://www.healthline.com/health/depression/depression-vs-sadness" target="_blank">sadness or depression<br></a></li></ul>
What can help you cope with cabin fever?<p>Because cabin fever isn't a recognized psychological condition, there's no standard "treatment." However, mental health professionals do recognize that the symptoms are very real.</p><p>The coping mechanism that works best for you will have a lot to do with your personal situation and the reason you're secluded in the first place.</p><p>Finding meaningful ways to engage your brain and occupy your time can help alleviate the distress and irritability that cabin fever brings.</p><p>The following ideas are a good place to start.</p>
When to get help<p>Cabin fever is often a fleeting feeling. You may feel irritable or frustrated for a few hours, but having a virtual chat with a friend or finding a task to distract your mind may help erase the frustrations you felt earlier.</p><p>Sometimes, however, the feelings may grow stronger, and no coping mechanisms may be able to successfully help you eliminate your feelings of isolation, sadness, or depression.</p><p>What's more, if your time indoors is prolonged by outside forces, like weather or extended shelter-in-place orders from your local government, feelings of <a href="https://www.healthline.com/health/anxiety" target="_blank">anxiety</a> and fear are valid.</p><p>In fact, anxiety may be at the root of some cabin fever symptoms. This may make symptoms worse.</p><p>If you feel that your symptoms are getting worse, consider reaching out to a mental health professional who can help you understand what you're experiencing. Together, you can identify ways to overcome the feelings and anxiety.</p><p>Of course, if you're in isolation or practicing social distancing, you'll need to look for alternative means for seeing a mental health expert.</p><p>Telehealth options may be available to connect you with your therapist if you already have one. If you don't, reach out to your doctor for recommendations about mental health specialists who can connect with you online.</p><p>If you don't want to talk to a therapist, <a href="https://www.healthline.com/health/depression/top-iphone-android-apps" target="_blank">smartphone apps for depression</a> may provide a complementary option for addressing your cabin fever symptoms.</p>
The bottom line<p>Isolation isn't a natural state for many people. We are, for the most part, social animals. We enjoy each other's company. That's what can make staying at home for extended periods of time difficult.</p><p>However, whether you're sheltering at home to avoid dangerous weather conditions or heeding the guidelines to help minimize the spread of a disease, staying at home is often an important thing we must do for ourselves and our communities.</p><p>If and when it's necessary, finding ways to engage your brain and occupy your time may help bat back cabin fever and the feelings of isolation and restlessness that often accompany it.</p>
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