Dubai, UAE, December 17, 2016: Masen, the Moroccan Agency for Sustainable Energy has been announced as a winner of the United Nation’s top environmental accolade, the Champions of the Earth award.
The award, in the Entrepreneurial Vision category, recognizes the organization’s leadership in advancing solar power, making solar energy affordable and demonstrating the utility of innovative approaches to green financing.
Head of UN Environment, Erik Solheim said, “MASEN’s achievements come at a time when bold, ambitious and innovative action to achieve sustainable renewable energy is more urgent than it has ever been. The company has overcome significant financing challenges to bring affordable solar energy to Morocco.”
“MASEN’s success is an inspiration and model for enterprises everywhere. They have shown that conversion to affordable renewable energy is not only possible, but beneficial for reducing overall energy costs for a country and its communities.”
MASEN spearheaded the first large scale use of solar in the Middle East and North Africa region: the NOOR Ouarzazate I, a 160 MW concentrated solar power (CSP) plant with storage and first phase of the Moroccan Solar Plan NOOR, came online early this year. Morocco has traditionally been the largest importer of fossil fuels in the region and MASEN has been instrumental in helping to turn that around.
Mr. Mustapha Bakkoury, the President of MASEN said, “MASEN is actively working to implement the Renewable Energy vision of His Majesty the King Mohammed VI so as to lower Morocco’s dependency on imported fossil fuels through sustainable and integrated projects. We are honoured for the recognition at this level for our work on this major project, which we hope will inspire other countries to embrace solar energy.”
The agency is vital to the fulfilment of Morocco’s renewable energy programme, launched in 2009, with the aim of generating 42 per cent of electricity from renewable energy by 2020 and 52 per cent by 2030. The first Noor project is being constructed in one of Morocco’s most disadvantaged regions, creating thousands of jobs and providing training and community development programmes over the next 25 years for the region’s inhabitants, as well as indirect employment and other benefits.
About Champions of the Earth
The annual Champions of the Earth prize is awarded to outstanding leaders from government, civil society and the private sector whose actions have had a positive impact on the environment.
Since being founded twelve years ago, the awards have recognized 78 laureates - ranging from leaders of nations to grassroots activists - in the categories of policy, science, business and civil society.
The awards will be given out as part of a high-level reception hosted by the Government of Mexico at the 13th Conference of the Parties of the Convention on Biological Diversity in Cancun, December 2, 2016.