He's the king of selfies, and he's also seen as a "visionary" and an "outstanding" leader when it comes to renewable energy.
Morocco's King Mohammed VI was just awarded the Energy Efficiency Visionary Award at the Energy Efficiency Global Forum that took place in Washington D.C. this week.
Gil Quiniones, co-president of the Alliance to Save Energy, which coordinates the international event, lauded the king's efforts to promote renewable energy, saying that Morocco has become a model for developing clean energy.
"Thanks to the King’s vision, Morocco is on track to meet the goals set in the Paris Agreement in terms of energy efficiency,” Quiniones said, according to the North Africa Post.
King Mohammed VI was unable to attend the event and the award was accepted by the Moroccan Ambassador to the U.S. Lalla Joumana Alaoui. But the king shared a special message in appreciation of the award, saying he felt "honored."
"Energy efficiency is today, with renewable energies, a new revolution in the energy sector due to the technological evolution which ensures a correlation between these two components. They should be integrated and taken into account in investment decisions and technological choices in all key energy-intensive sectors, including industry, construction, transport, street lighting, and agriculture," the king said, according to Morocco World News, calling for greater investment and mobilization in renewable energy technologies.
Morocco has become a leader in pursuing sustainable energy solutions, with plans to care for 42 percent of its energy needs from renewable sources by 2020 and 52 percent by 2030. The kingdom also aims to reduce green house gas emissions by 32 percent within 15 years.
One of the kingdom's most ambitious renewable energy projects is the Noor solar power plant in Ouarzazate. With hundreds of curved mirrors covering some 1,400,000 square meters of desert – an area the size of 200 football fields – the first phase of the project has already surpassed expectations.
Moving forward, the solar plant could not only to meet Morocco's energy needs, but also export power to Europe. By 2018, the plant might be the largest of its kind in the world.
Other Arab nations such as the UAE and Saudi Arabia have also been putting renewable energy at the forefront of their future energy strategies.
In January, the UAE revealed that it may actually exceed its target of producing 24 percent of its energy from renewable sources by 2021. Saudi Arabia also plans to invest $30 to $50 billion in renewable energy by 2032.