IRESEN launches US48m new research center in Benguerir to develop Smart Grids

MOROCCO – The Institute for Research in Solar Energy and Renewable Energies (IRESEN) has launched construction works for a research center in Benguerir, central Morocco, that will be dedicated to smart grids.

The project is the fruit of a partnership with Mohammed VI Polytechnique University (UM6P) and the Korea International Cooperation Agency (KOICA).

A smart grid is an electricity network that uses several energy operations and measures, such as smart meters, smart appliances, and renewable energy resources to ensure an economically efficient, sustainable power system with low losses.

Smart grids are also the new generation of energy systems that have self-healing capabilities. They also can facilitate, and provide more information on the use of electricity supply, which allows consumers to become active participants in optimizing the operation of the system.

Marking the third and final phase of the international research platform “GREEN & SMART BUILDING PARK,” the launching ceremony of the new research center took place in the presence of Morocco’s Minister of Energy, Mines and Environment, Aziz Rabbah, the Ambassador of the Republic of South Korea in Rabat, Seong Deok Yun, as well as IRESEN’s general director, Badr Ikken.

With an estimated budget of US$8 million, the new center is set to include three laboratories, one for modeling, simulation, and optimization of electrical systems. Another room for automation of quality control of the electrical network and the third room will be a laboratory for micro-grid, flow management, and network analysis.

During the launching ceremony, Minister Rabbah emphasized the importance of the project, saying that it will give Moroccans the opportunity to contribute to the development of the country’s renewable energies sector and improve citizens’ life quality through smart grids.

According to a research paper, Morocco is witnessing a strong, increasing demand for the industrial plan. This increased demand comes from a rise in domestic electricity consumption, the modernization of lifestyles, and rural electrification, according to the paper.

It concluded that Smart grids are the best choice for Morocco’s renewable energy development as well as a solution for its energy transition issues. Smart grid systems can reduce the losses caused by the distribution of electricity accounting for 12% of the total production in 2011.

In addition, a smart grid-aided electricity network will allow Morocco to improve the quality of electricity supply, strengthen predictive maintenance, and manage electrical uses such as electric vehicle recharge.

In recent years, the promising evolution and the importance of the smart grids systems have led to several local and foreign investments to support the industrial sector and develop renewable energy fields in Morocco, especially in terms of the diversity of power grids in the country.

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