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Morocco’s Noor: Capturing the sun to bring light

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Morocco Noor

Casablanca, April 17 : Four years ago, Morocco imported 93 percent of its energy needs. By 2030, it hopes to get 52 per cent from renewables. Just how serious the country is about solar power comes across loud and clear to visitors as soon as one crosses the Mohamed V International Airport here.

Large solar panels along the road and street lights topped with solar panels line the way for a few miles — highlighting how the north African nation is moving firmly ahead in its mission to become a solar superpower.

Morocco’s King Mohammed VI earlier this month launched the fourth and final phase of the world’s largest solar energy plant — Noor Solar in Ouarzazate, on the edge of the Sahara desert. Noor is the Arabic word for light.

The first phase of the $9 billion project was launched in 2013, while the second and third phases were launched in 2016.

When completed in 2018, the desert solar power complex will have a 582 MW capacity, enough to power 1.1 million homes — and would measure the size of capital Rabat.

Morocco’s leadership in renewable energy was highlighted at last month’s Crans Montana Forum where Said Moufti, Research Director of the Royal Institute for Strategic Studies, pointed out that solar and wind power plants had been set up all over the southern provinces. “Morocco is showing by way of example,” he said.

The first phase of Noor, which was commissioned in February 2016, uses 500,000 curved mirrors spread over thousands of acres of desert to generate up to 160 MW, making it one of the world’s biggest solar thermal power plants.

The mirrors are part of technology called concentrated solar power (CSP). The 39-foot-tall parabolic mirrors focus the sun’s energy to heat fluid in pipelines, which when mixed with water, produces steam to drive a turbine.

This system can store power after the sun goes down and generate power at night.

While Phases II and III are also CSP projects, Noor IV, the final phase, uses photovoltaic (PV) technology to produce electricity.

The entire Noor project, when ready, will help reduce CO2 emissions by 760,000 tonnes a year and by 17.5 million tonnes over 25 years, according to reports.

Morocco’s stress on renewable energy will not only help the country reduce its energy imports, but also generate revenue from exporting energy across the Mediterranean to Europe and to its neighbours in Africa.

Morocco, a country of 33 million people, is the only African country with a power cable link to Europe.

The stress on renewable energy will also create jobs.

Morocco currently employs about 3,000 people in the renewable energy sector. According to a study by the Euro-Mediterranean Forum of Institutes of Economic Sciences (FEMISE), the country is expected to create between 270,000 and 500,000 new green jobs by 2040.

The report was released at the COP22 held in Marrakech last year.

The Noor project is being developed on a build, own, operate and transfer (BOOT) basis by ACWA Power Ouarzazate, a consortium of Saudi Arabia’s ACWA Power, the Moroccan Agency for Solar Energy (MASEN), Aries and TSK.

Morocco is also focusing on wind energy. It has set up the Tarfaya wind farm complex — said to be the largest in Africa — stretching more than 100 sq km across the Sahara desert, on the southern Atlantic coast.

(The writer was in Morocco at the invitation of the Crans Montana Forum. Ranjana Narayan can be reached at [email protected])

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Boycott Netflix India trends over Temple kissing scene in series ‘A Suitable Boy’, BJP’s Narottam Mishra orders probe

On Sunday Afternoon, netizens urged fellow citizen to #BoycottNetflix over a kissing scene in the Netflix series ‘A Suitable Boy’, directed by Mira Nair.

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A Suitable Boy Netflix Review

On Sunday Afternoon, netizens urged fellow citizen to #BoycottNetflix over a kissing scene in the Netflix series ‘A Suitable Boy’, directed by Mira Nair. A section of the internet has expressed its displeasure over the content shown in ‘A Suitable Boy’, starring Tabu, Ishaan Khatter, and Tanya Maniktala.

The outrage is over Tanya Maniktala’s character Lata kissing Danesh Razvi’s character Kabir Durrani in the series in a sequence shot in a temple. Lata hailed from a Hindu family and Kabir was a Muslim.

Madhya Pradesh Home Minister Narottam Mishra, who had recently announced that the state government will bring a Bill against ‘love jihad’ in the next Assembly session, has now directed the authorities to ‘examine the objectionable scenes’ in filmmaker Meera Nair’s web series ‘A Suitable Boy’.

Narottam Mishra tweeted, “A film titled ‘A Suitable Boy’ has been released on an OTT platform. It depicts extremely objectionable scenes that hurt the feelings of a particular religion. I have directed police officials to look into it.”

Youth BJP leader Gaurav Tiwari submitted a written complaint against the makers and demanded the registration of an FIR. He also urged netizens to boycott Netflix and slammed the makers.

“In ‘A Suitable Boy’ show, @NetflixIndia filmed kissing scenes in the temple courtyard thrice in a single episode. According to the script, a Hindu woman is in love with a Muslim young man, but why were all the kissing scenes shot in the temple courtyard? I have lodged an FIR in Rewa on this matter,” he tweeted.

Actor-TV personality Rahul Mahajan was among the others who expressed his displeasure over the scene. He wrote, “A Muslim man kissing a Hindu woman during the Ram Aarti was ‘creative freedom’. But when a Hindu man and Muslim women would kiss in a mosque during Azaan, this creative freedom would go missing.’

Here are the reactions of Netizens:

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NASA rover helps scientists find signs of megafloods on Mars

“The planet had the conditions needed to support the presence of liquid water on the surface — and on Earth, where there’s water, there’s life.

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New York: Analysing data collected by NASA’s Curiosity rover, scientists have found that floods of unimaginable magnitude once washed through Gale Crater on Mars’ equator around four billion years ago.

The finding, published in the journal Scientific Reports, hints at the possibility that life may have existed on the Red Planet.

The raging megaflood — likely touched off by the heat of a meteoritic impact, which unleashed ice stored on the Martian surface — set up gigantic ripples that are tell-tale geologic structures familiar to scientists on Earth.

“We identified megafloods for the first time using detailed sedimentological data observed by the rover Curiosity,” said co-author Alberto Fairen, a visiting astrobiologist at Cornell University, Ithaca, New York.

“Deposits left behind by megafloods had not been previously identified with orbiter data.”

As is the case on Earth, geological features, including the work of water and wind have been frozen in time on Mars for about four billion years. These features convey processes that shaped the surface of both planets in the past.

This case includes the occurrence of giant wave-shaped features in sedimentary layers of Gale crater, often called “megaripples” or antidunes that are about 30-feet high and spaced about 450 feet apart, according to study lead author Ezat Heydari, Professor of Physics at Jackson State University in Mississippi, US.

The antidunes are indicative of flowing megafloods at the bottom of Mars’ Gale Crater about four billion years ago, which are identical to the features formed by melting ice on Earth about two million years ago, Heydari said.

The most likely cause of the Mars flooding was the melting of ice from the heat generated by a large impact, which released carbon dioxide and methane from the planet’s frozen reservoirs.

The water vapour and release of gases combined to produce a short period of warm and wet conditions on the red planet.

Condensation formed water vapour clouds, which in turn created torrential rain, possibly planetwide.

The Curiosity rover science team has already established that Gale Crater once had persistent lakes and streams in the ancient past.

These long-lived bodies of water are good indicators that the crater, as well as Mount Sharp within it, were capable of supporting microbial life.

“Early Mars was an extremely active planet from a geological point of view,” Fairen said.

“The planet had the conditions needed to support the presence of liquid water on the surface — and on Earth, where there’s water, there’s life.

“So early Mars was a habitable planet,” he said.

“Was it inhabited? That’s a question that the next rover Perseverance … will help to answer.”

Perseverance, which launched on July 30, is scheduled to reach Mars on February 18, 2021.

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Kerala makes cyber defamation punishable, 5-year jail term for ‘offensive’ post

Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan has claimed the decision was guided by growing abuse on social media targeting individuals.

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Arif Mohammad Khan

The Kerala Governor Arif Mohammed Khan has reportedly signed an ordinance to incorporate the controversial Section 118 (A) in the Kerala Police Act, making defamation, intimidation, and insulting of any person on social media, a punishable offence, with imprisonment of up to five years or a fine of Rs 10,000 or both.

As reported by LiveLaw, Khan’s office on Saturday confirmed that he had signed the Kerala Police Act Amendment ordinance made by the Left Democratic Front (LDF) government under which, any individual who produces, publishes, or disseminates content through any means of communication to insult or defame any person through social media, has to face repercussions.

Advocate Anoop Kumaran, who had moved the Supreme Court in 2015 against another Section, 118(D) of the Act. “The government claims that Section 118(A) is meant to protect people, particularly women, from social media abuse. But in reality, the new law would be used by the authorities and government against those who criticise them,” the media quoted Kumaran as saying.

It is feared that the amendment could have a chilling effect on free speech giving more power to the police and restricting freedom of the press. Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan has claimed the decision was guided by growing abuse on social media targeting individuals.

The Kerala government had also claimed a rise in crimes, fake propaganda and hate speech on social media since the outbreak of Covid-19, and said the existing legal provisions were inadequate to fight them. It had argued that while the Supreme Court had repealed Section 118 (D) of the Kerala Police Act as well as Section 66-A of the IT Act, the Centre had not introduced any other legal framework to replace them.

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