Morocco’s Regional Coastal Scheme, plus Morocco’s renewable energy goals. Transforming Moroccan deserts into gardens of Eden, and Renaissance Fiber’s green cleaning process.
Morocco’s Regional Coastal Scheme, Morocco’s Renewable Energy Goals, Transforming Moroccan Deserts into Gardens of Eden, Renaissance Fiber’s Green Cleaning Process
MOROCCO’S REGIONAL COASTAL SCHEME
Morocco got some help in 2021 from the World Bank Group and the Italian government to help design a scheme for the sustainable management of Morocco’s coastline with long-term development objectives by 2040.
The Regional Coastal Scheme (RCS), as it is called, is the first of its kind in Morocco. Morocco has almost 2,200 miles of coastline, making it particularly vulnerable to sea level rise. Experts chose the Rabat-Salé-Kénitra Region to launch RCS. None of our research reveals why that region was picked first for RCS development.
But Jesko Hentschel, World Bank Maghreb Country Director did say, in an interview, “Coastline sustainable management is a cornerstone of Morocco’s territorial development. At the same time, identifying coastlines’ untapped potential for job creation and income generating activities is critical—especially in a post-Covid context—to flesh out strategies promoting sustainable economic activities around the coastal zones.”
The vision for the RCS aims to promote sustainable development of the coast involving:
- Natural resources management
- Port use
- City planning
The scheme also includes the establishment of an integrated coastline governance model and the preservation and rehabilitation of the coastal ecosystem through critical investments. Why does Morocco’s Regional Coastal Scheme matter to us? The regional scheme demonstrates how collaboration among governments and organizations can be harnessed to address a local concern with regional implications.
MOROCCO’S RENEWABLE ENERGY GOALS
At the end of last year, renewable energy made up almost two-fifths of Morocco’s electricity capacity. Some fossil fuel subsidies had already been completely phased out. But the country still faces real and immediate challenges. It’s vulnerable to the impacts of climate change because geographically it’s located in a warming hotspot.
Although Morocco had been moving toward renewable energy goals for over a decade, new goals have been set. Those goals? To produce 52% of its energy through clean renewable energy by 2030 and have over half of the energy produced locally. This shift will further reduce its dependence on oil-rich countries.
One of the projects generating renewable energy since 2019 is the Noor-Ouarzazate complex. It’s 11.6 sq miles, making it the world’s largest concentrated solar power plant. Another project, started in 2021, is the Oualidia wind farm, producing 36MW of clean energy. The project is being completed by InnoVent Maroc, a subsidiary of the France-based firm InnoVent.
The total renewable energy installed in Morocco at present accounts for 35% of its electricity output. Why do Morocco’s renewable energy goals matter to us? It is said that Morocco is one of the most advanced countries in successfully planning and executing its renewable energy strategies. Studying their approach could help countries globally as they set plans of their own.
TRANSFORMING MOROCCAN DESERTS INTO GARDENS OF EDEN
When I imagine Morocco, I see coastal bazaars crowded with people, market stalls chock full of goods that magically appear from somewhere behind the sand dunes in the distance. I don’t think of orchards. One group of entrepreneurs wants to change that picture.
From Sand to Green, founded in 2021 and supported by Swiss-based eco-tech company Arktos, aims to rehabilitate the arid coast of western Morocco into a useful orchard. According to their website, agricultural stress causes the deforestation of a land area equivalent to the size of Britain annually.
Morocco is already a climate hotspot, with climate change is only adding pressure to the heat. Morocco will need to become more food independent while also dealing with less fresh water supply. Arktos intends to fight deforestation, desertification and soil fertilization by using desalinization technology.
Its goal is to transform the huge unused desert space into fertile orchards and capture CO2, produce food and prevent deforestation. The company is planting tree plantations to achieve that goal. Currently, there are two plantations about 49 acres in size, both in the south of the country: Dakhla and Azwarig.
At Dakhla, the project is more geared toward agroforestry. At the Azwarig location, the plantation produces organic vegetables and fruits inspired by the natural, local ecosystem. Why does From Sand to Green matter to us? As more and more fresh water supplies among the world’s coastal areas become inundated with salty ocean water due to sea level rise, the company’s technology will become more relevant outside of desert locales.
RENAISSANCE FIBER’S GREEN CLEANING PROCESS SPARKS JEALOUSY
A well-known environmental concern is the pollution from processing fabrics like polyester which are made from fossil fuels–and are reported to contribute up to 40% of the fashion industry’s carbon emissions. Enter Renaissance Fiber, founded by Michael Long in 2018 in Wilmington, North Carolina.
The company’s aim is to change the fashion industry’s poor climate record through its innovative hemp fiber processing technology. The challenges Renaissance Fiber set out to tackle were two-fold. U.S. hemp fiber is sourced through global supply chains which contributes to global carbon emissions through shipping. Although hemp is a natural product, current processes for softening the fabric for textile use are expensive and polluting.
The company has patented technology used during the second stage of hemp fiber processing. The technology removes a sticky substance within hemp plant ﬁber by mimicking how plant ﬁbers naturally separate in ecosystems of slow-moving streams found in estuaries across the southeastern U.S.
At the same time, the process sequesters carbon in the water left over from the processing, which can be returned to the ocean as a natural carbon sink. The company was also a finalist in the 2021 Biomimicry Institute’s Ray of Hope Prize. It also was awarded the inaugural Venture Winston Grants® award in 2021. The award is a $50,000 grant competition presented by Agile City in Winston-Salem, N.C.
Renaissance Fiber saw more to nature than just the need to protect it. In nature it found the solution to a problem through the idea of biomimicry. Once again, “nature’s genius.”