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Morocco ratified the Climate Convention in 1996 and was the first African country to host a Conference of the Parties of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). In 2015, Morocco presented its INDC (Intended Nationally Determined Contribution under UNFCCC), where it is stated that Morocco’s main focus is on the energy sector and that it aims to reduce its GHG emissions by 32 % by 2030 compared to “business as usual” projected emissions, which translates into a projected cumulative reduction of 401 Mt CO2eq over the period 2020-2030. In practice, Morocco’s objective is to reach over 50 % of installed electricity production capacity from renewable sources by 2025.
The increase of percentage of renewable energy utilisation is based on both the increment of renewable energy production and the reduction of consumption as a whole. In particular, for solar energy, the target that Morocco has presented in its 2015 INDC refers to an increase in production of 14% until 2020.
Morocco has abundant wind and solar resources. According to a study by Dii (2013), wind, photovoltaic and concentrated solar thermal power industrial sectors could add up to 5% of GDP by 2030. However, as the same report suggests, this progress is dependent on the continuing financial support of the national and international organisations directly implicated in green energy investment. The use of more environmentally friendly sources of energy could halve the current imports of fossil fuels by 2030, which currently represents 8% of the GDP, according to a study by Agénor et al (2015). The same study also indicated that fuel import costs as a proportion of the total value of exports have increased from 25% in 2003 to over 55% in 2012.
For Morocco, following the path of renewable energy is therefore a way to stay competitive and reducing their dependency on importations. This priority has been addressed by the National Government which developed “Solar Plan” as one of their seven base strategies in 2009. Solar Plan’s major objective if the creation of five major sites of solar energy production as well as “training, technical expertise, research and development, the promotion of an integrated solar industry and potentially the desalination of sea water”. (http://www.maroc.ma/en/content/solar-plan)
“Sunshine Map” (Source: http://masen.org.ma/index.php?Id=15&lang=en#/_)
As part of Solar Plan activties, in February 2016 a new milestone is reached with the inauguration of Ouarzazate Concentrated Solar Power with a capacity of 140 MW of power generation. (http://www.worldbank.org/projects/P122028/ma-ouarzazate-concentrated-solar-power?lang=en&tab=results)
The video bellow provides additional information on Ouarzazate Concentrated Solar Power, which is the first of the five sites of energy production to be inaugurated.
In 2010, the road to solar energy in Morocco was punctuated by the official beginning of Medgrid, which is a consortium of 21 industrial groups set up to promote the development of electricity networks in the Mediterranean basin with the purpose of exporting renewable energy to Europe.(http://pulse.edf.com/en/medgrid-mediterranean-electricity-network). The video bellow is an interview with Jean Kowal, Deputy Director General of Medgrid.
Since the climatic conditions of northern african countries allow for a cheaper solar energy production than in other countries in Europe, Medgrid can be an answer for both southern and northern shores of the Mediterranean in terms of clean energy. (http://pulse.edf.com/en/medgrid-mediterranean-electricity-network)
For Morocco, solar energy is therefore not only a way to reduce the dependency of the importation of commodities for energy production, but also a potential source of revenue by exporting it to the countries in the northern shore of the mediterranean. In practice, the project involves major investment in not only solar production centres but also on electricity highways across continents.
Morocco seems to be looking at its own resources to feed growing demands in terms of energy. In a country particularly vulnerable to climate change such as Morocco but with strong potential for solar and wind energy production, taking the green energy road is the best way to face the future.
Agénor, P.-R., El Aynaoui, K. 2015. Morocco: Growth Strategy for 2025 in an Evolving International Environment. OCP Policy Center. Rabat.
Dii. 2013. Les énergies renouvelables au Maroc : Un secteur porteur de croissance et d’emplois. Report presented in Casablanca, 22 May.
EDF Pulse Official Webpage. Available in http://pulse.edf.com/en
Morocco’s INDC. 2015. Online. Available in http://www4.unfccc.int/submissions/INDC/Published%20Documents/Morocco/1/Morocco%20INDC%20submitted%20to%20UNFCCC%20-%205%20june%202015.pdf
Morocco’s Official Government Webpage. Available in http://www.maroc.ma/en
World Bank official webpage. Available in http://www.worldbank.org