Solar power projects are progressing in the Middle East and North Africa, although their scale is small in comparison with other regional electricity developments. Last week UAE state renewable energy company Masdar announced a plan to develop a solar plant in Mauritania, while Morocco signed an agreement with the Desertec Foundation aimed at accelerating the development of North African solar farms. Meanwhile, Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Kuwait, Iraq are also lining up solar projects.

Masdar announced on 23 October a plan to build a 15mw photovoltaic (PV) plant at Nouakchott, which it said would deliver 10% of Mauritania’s electricity requirement. Once the plant is built, it will be owned and operated by state-owned Société Mauritanienne de l’Électricité (Somelec). Mauritania’s current installed capacity is 144mw, fuelled mainly by diesel and with over one-third provided by hydropower schemes. Masdar estimates the country’s demand growth rate at 12% for 2012 and observes that Mauritania faces severe energy shortages. The government is also currently looking to push gas field developments to feed power plants. (MEES, 27 August). (CONTINUED - 880 WORDS)