Quantcast
Environmental News for a Healthier Planet and Life

Help Support EcoWatch

Morocco and California Lead the Way in Replacing Fossil Fuels With Renewable Energy

Climate

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.”

YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE

Richard Branson Presents Sustainia Award for World’s Most Innovative City Solution

Leonardo DiCaprio: ‘Do Not Wait Another Day’ to Move to 100% Renewable Energy

Pledge Signed to Make All New Passenger Vehicles Zero Emissions by 2050

Carl Pope: Cities Can Lead … Cities Want to Lead … So Let them!

EcoWatch Daily Newsletter

A man pushes his mother in a wheelchair down Ocean Drive in South Beach, Miami on May 19, 2020, amid the novel coronavirus pandemic. CHANDAN KHANNA / AFP via Getty Images

The U.S. reported more than 55,000 new coronavirus cases on Thursday, in a sign that the outbreak is not letting up as the Fourth of July weekend kicks off.

Read More Show Less
To better understand how people influence the overall health of dolphins, Oklahoma State University's Unmanned Systems Research Institute is developing a drone to collect samples from the spray that comes from their blowholes. Ken Y. / CC by 2.0

By Jason Bruck

Human actions have taken a steep toll on whales and dolphins. Some studies estimate that small whale abundance, which includes dolphins, has fallen 87% since 1980 and thousands of whales die from rope entanglement annually. But humans also cause less obvious harm. Researchers have found changes in the stress levels, reproductive health and respiratory health of these animals, but this valuable data is extremely hard to collect.

Read More Show Less

Sunscreen pollution is accelerating the demise of coral reefs globally by causing permanent DNA damage to coral. gonzalo martinez / iStock / Getty Images Plus

On July 29, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis signed into law a controversial bill prohibiting local governments from banning certain types of sunscreens.

Read More Show Less
Oat milk is popping up at coffee shops and grocery stores alike, quickly becoming one of the trendiest plant-based milks. jacqueline / CC by 2.0

By Kelli McGrane

Oat milk is popping up at coffee shops and grocery stores alike, quickly becoming one of the trendiest plant-based milks.

Read More Show Less

"Emissions from pyrotechnic displays are composed of numerous organic compounds as well as metals," a new study reports. Nodar Chernishev / EyeEm / Getty Images

Fireworks have taken a lot of heat recently. In South Dakota, fire experts have said President Trump's plan to hold a fireworks show is dangerous and public health experts have criticized the lack of plans to enforce mask wearing or social distancing. Now, a new study shows that shooting off fireworks at home may expose you and your family to dangerous levels of lead, copper and other toxins.

Read More Show Less
Billions worth of valuable metals such as gold, silver and copper were dumped or burned last year as electronic waste produced globally jumped to a record 53.6 million tons. Curtis Palmer / CC by 2.0

By Ashutosh Pandey

Billions worth of valuable metals such as gold, silver and copper were dumped or burned last year as electronic waste produced globally jumped to a record 53.6 million tons (Mt), or 7.3 kilogram per person, a UN report showed on Thursday.

Read More Show Less

Trending

A women walks with COVID-19 care kits distributed by Boston's Office of Neighborhood Services in Boston, Massachusetts on May 28, 2020. The pandemic has led to a rise in single-use plastic items, but reusable bags and cloth masks can be two ways to reduce waste. JOSEPH PREZIOSO / AFP via Getty Images

This month is Plastic Free July, the 31 days every year when millions of people pledge to give up single-use plastics.

Read More Show Less