Photograph — fosterandpartners

It’s renewable energy o’clock in North Africa as Morocco is building Africa’s largest seawater desalination station. So far, Egypt has set money aside for two massive stations. Tunisia has partnered with ENI on big energy projects. But Morocco is in the lead, following a deal to erect the continent’s tallest wind tower by 2020. The project will be built and installed by Nabrawind, an innovation-driven solution provider in the renewable energy industry.

According to a company statement, the tower will have a hub height of 144meters, dwarfing South Africa’s 115meters tower, essentially crowning it the tallest in Africa. But beyond just being an African leader, the company says Morocco’s tower would rank among the world’s tallest, with the current global record standing at 178meters in Germany. It also said Morocco would join the league of forward-looking renewable energy-conscious nations, who are now building more efficient and powerful towers in the 3.5MW to the 5.5MW range. Morocco’s wind tower would have a capacity of 3.6MW.

With this deal, Morocco would be getting the first taste of a new wind turbine technology, Nabralift, a sizable improvement on all turbines gone before. For instance, the Nabralift has a self-erecting system (SES) at the tower pylon’s base, which removes the need for hefty cranes in installation. Also, where previous turbine foundations needed 500m3 of concrete and 60 tons of steel, Nabralift only needs 80m3 of concrete and 10 tons of steel. This would cut cost for installation equipment, as well as encourage installation in more difficult locations.

Nabrawind expects the project’s foundation to start this summer, with installation taking up all the rest of the year and some of early next year. Before now, it had installed the third tallest tower in the world in Eslava, Spain which stands slightly higher than Morocco’s proposed at 160meters.  Morocco expects to convert the wind’s kinetic energy into electrical. Wind farms are becoming innovative alternatives for many countries seeking to reduce reliance on fossil fuels and regular, eco-unfriendly energy sources.

Between them, Morocco, South Africa, and Egypt boast a staggering 91.3 percent of Africa’s wind power capacity in 2016 alone. Morocco especially has been an active investor in the renewable energy sector, reportedly spending about $2 billion on clean energy, only one of 22 countries across the world to invest so much. Earlier this year, the country’s Agency for Sustainable Energy (MASEN) partnered with Swede energy solutions provider Azelio to build a “full-scale verification project,” part of efforts to double down on energy diversification.

The results have been spectacular: it achieved a sixty-eight percent jump in the number of its citizens it supplies electricity supply in the last 20 years and provided about 28,000 SMEs farmers solar irrigation pump systems. It currently ranks 13th on the global list of renewable energy attractive countries. The Climate Change Performance index ranks the country second globally, only behind Sweden. Already a continental leader in sustainable energy, this wind tower only adds to an increasingly feathered cap. Morocco, a current producer of 28,000 GW per hour of electricity it consumes, imports the remainder from Spain, where Nabrawind calls home.

By Caleb Ajinomoh

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