Economics Driving Renewable Energy Development In Morocco

The population of the Kingdom of Morocco is approximately 37.14 million people[1]. In 2018, 100% of the people in this North African country had access to electricity[2].

In 2019, Morocco was ranked 59th in gross domestic product (GDP) in the world[3]. The country’s economy is dependent on the export of electric equipment, vehicles, fertilizers, clothing, vegetables, fruits, nuts, fish, phosphates, barite, cobalt, and copper.

In 2009, Morocco enacted an energy strategy to reduce the dependence on imported fossil fuel (coal, oil, and natural gas) by increasing the use of renewable energy. The government’s goal was generate 42% of the country’s electricity from renewable energy.

In 2016, Morocco signed the Paris Climate Agreement and committed to an unconditional 13% reduction on business as usual greenhouse gas emissions by 2030. Morocco also committed a conditional 32% reduction in greenhouse gases subject to foreign financial support[4].

In 2019, Morocco’s state-owned utility, the National Office of Electricity and Drinking Water (ONNE) used renewable energy (34%), coal (31%), oil (25%), and natural gas (10%) to generate electricity in the country[5]. Hydropower, wind, and solar are the primary sources of renewable energy in Morocco.

Recent renewable energy projects in Morocco include:

  • 900 MW Wind Project – American renewable energy company, Soluna Technologies has begun work on a massive wind project, located near the city of Dahkla in Western Sahara. The wind project is scheduled to be completed by year-end 2027.
  • 800 MW Hybrid Solar + Energy Storage Project – The Moroccan Agency for Sustainable Energy (MASEN) is continuing work on the Noor Midelt hybrid solar project, which combines photovoltaic and concentrated power with an energy storage system. The project which is located approximately 180 miles southeast of the capital, Rabat is scheduled to be completed by year-end 2022.
  • 400 MW Solar Tender – In December 2020, MASEN announced a tender for the Noor Photovoltaic II, multi-site program. Potential sites for these solar projects include the cities of Sidi Bennour, Kelaa Sraghna, Taroudant, Bejaad, El Hajeb, and Ain Beni Mathar.
  • 270 MW Wind Project – Moroccan energy company, Nareva Holdings and Italian energy company, Enel have begun work on the Jbel Lahdid Wind Farm, which is located near the coastal town of Essaouira, approximately 100 miles west of the city of Marrakesh. The wind project is scheduled to be completed by year-end 2024.
  • 87 MW Wind Project – French utility, EDF Renouvelables and Japanese multinational, Mitsui are continuing work on the Taza wind farm, which is located in northern Morocco. The project is scheduled to be completed by year-end 2022.

Morocco imports the majority of its coal, oil, and natural gas. Although oil and natural gas prices have fallen dramatically over the past two years, importing expensive fossil fuels undermines Morocco’s economy.

Morocco recognizes that moving from expensive, imported fossil fuels to renewable energy improve the county’s economy, reduced the cost of electricity, and reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

Jack Kerfoot

Website – “Our Energy Conundrum”

www.jackkerfoot.com

[1] Morocco Population (2020) –  January 6, 2021 www.worldometers.info

[2] Morocco – The World Bank Group

[3] Gross Domestic Product 2019 – World Bank DataBank

[4] Carbon Brief “Paris 2015: Tracking Country Climate Pledges

[5] Energy Morocco – export.gov

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