More and more countries are increasingly investing in renewable energy technologies to meet growing energy demands and increase the security of their energy supply. This development is also evident in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region, where renewable energy targets and policies have evolved rapidly in recent years. There is a steady increase in both the number of planned and implemented solar photovoltaic (PV) but also of solar thermal projects in form of Concentrating Solar Power (CSP) plants. Many of these installations are designed as large utility-scale systems. Despite the fact that these types of large-scale projects can have significant effects on local communities and their livelihoods, the existing research into the social impacts of such large-scale renewable energy infrastructures at local level is limited. However, assessing and managing these impacts is becoming increasingly important to reduce risks to both the affected communities and to the project and businesses activities.
The research paper "Social impacts of large-scale solar thermal power plants" reviews the social impacts of large-scale renewable energy infrastructure in the MENA region based on a case study of the NOORo I CSP plant in Ouarzazate, Morocco. The authors – with Dr. Julia C. Terrapon-Pfaff (Project Co-ordinator, International Energy Transitions Research Unit, Wuppertal Institute), Dr. Peter Viebahn (Head of the Sectors and Technologies Research Unit, Wuppertal Institute), Dr. Thomas Fink (Wuppertal Institute until September 2018), and Dr. El Mostafa Jamea – provides detailed evidence on the type and significance of livelihood impacts of the NOORo I CSP plant. The results show that, overall, the infrastructure development was received positively. The review also indicates that factors identified as having effects on the sustainability of local livelihoods are mainly related to information management and benefit distribution, rather than physical or material aspects.
The article "Social impacts of large-scale solar thermal power plants: Assessment results fort he NOORo I power plan Marocco" can be found unde rthe link below.