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Morocco has sat an ambitious renewable development target to decrease its energy dependency as the energy mix of this emerging country was, up to now, mainly based on imported oil.
Thanks to its several initiatives, Morocco is ranked seventh in the world in the 2016 Climate Change Performance Index and is the only non-European country in the top 20. It's also one of only five countries to have achieved a "sufficient" rating for its efforts to keep warming below 2°C in the Climate Action Tracker (3).
This article gives an overview of the Moroccan energy strategy, its perspectives as well as the currents projects and initiatives that have made this country a leader in terms of green initiatives.

Morocco... an energy dependent country:

Morocco has historically little primary energy reserves such as oil, natural gas and coal (huge shale gas potential reserves are expected). This country used to be energy dependent as it imports most of its energy , 91% of the total energy supply in 2014 (4) from boarder neighbors. Moreover, the bill was amounted to $10 billion in 2009.

The figure below shows the increase of the part of imported energy of the total energy supply since 2005.

Figure 1: % of Moroccan energy imports % energy supply (5)

The Moroccan energy mix has been composed of fossil resources – mainly oil with 62% of the total primary energy supply in 2014 (see figure 2 below). This tendency is slowly changing as the country is developing renewables. Power production is mostly held by private equities. For instance, in 2015 only 21% of power plants were managed by ONEE (National organization of electricity and drinking water) (1).

Figure 2: Moroccan energy mix in 2012(6)

 

In addition to that, the total energy demand is steadily increasing by 7% per year since 2014 due to the enhancement of the national economy with the development of industries and services mainly tourism.

The increase of the energy demand has enhanced the Moroccan external dependency. Therefore, in the last decade general strategy suggests decreasing the imports by using available resources (renewable energies and energy efficiency).

Morocco, an ambitious target to develop renewables:

Morocco enjoys a huge renewable potential as:

  • With 3000 hours of sunshine a year and an average irradiation of more than 5 KWh / m², it has a considerable solar potential especially in the south (see figure 3 below).

 

Figure 3: Solar irradiation in Morocco

  • It has wind potential estimated at around 25,000 MW, including 6,000 MW at the reference sites (see figure 4 below)

Figure 4: Wind potential in Morocco

In order to decrease its fossil dependency and take advantage of its large resources, Morocco started investing in renewables in 2000. Since 2006, Morocco has accelerated the renewable deployment and aims to reach 42% of the energy mix by 2020 and 52% by 2030 (20% using solar energy, 20% wind and 12% hydro). These objectives have been announced at the COP21 meeting in Paris (34).

In the next part, we will have a special focus on both wind and solar projects.

Wind projects:

The first wind farm has been deployed in Koudia al Baida with 50 MW installed by the national office of electricity (ONE). This organization, as a public investor, has actually played a major role developing the first wind farms in Morocco.

As part of its objective of producing 52% of its electricity from green energy by 2030, Morocco sets a target of 2 gigawatts for its wind component. The 10 projects already started or being installed will total around 1 GW which represents more than 50% of the total production target.

The figure below shows the different commissioned wind projects as well as the planned ones.

Figure 5: Wind projects in Morocco

Solar projects:

Morocco has launched the Moroccan Agency for Solar Energy (MASEN) in 2010 to accelerate the deployment of solar projects. An ambitious goal of installing 2000 MW by 2020 (33) including CSP (concentrated solar power) and PV projects has been announced by the government.

“Noor” is one of the most important worldwide CSP plant with 530 MW installed by 2019 near Ouarzazate in the center of Morocco. This power plant should combine two technologies: mobile parabolic mirrors for the first and second parts and solar tower for the third part. By 2021, 3 similar projects are planned in “Midelt”, “Foum al ouad” and “Sebkhate Tah” with around 1800 MW installed.

The figure below shows the different commissioned solar projects as well as the planned ones.

Figure 6: Solar projects in Morocco

The massive exploitation of renewable energies in Morocco allows it to reduce its consumption of fossil fuels. This strategy comes within a boarder framework of preparing Morocco’s future based on:

  • creating an environment that supports business and market growth
  • decreasing the external dependency especially in fossil energy
  • developing a clean and modern life especially in cities

In this context, Morocco is one of the first African countries that started developing smart cities and aims to become a reference on the continent.
 

Author:

Amal Abid, Consultant
Anthony Dos Reis, Manager

Read the second part of our Article on "Morocco, the Eldorado of renewable energies"

References:

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