Morocco intensifies shift towards renewable energy as total investments exceed US$5.6B

MOROCCO – The Kingdom of Morocco has intensified its efforts to up the share of renewable energy in electricity generation through increased investments in the sector over the past 10 years.

According to Morocco’s Minister of Energy Aziz Rabbah, the North African country’s investments in the field of renewable energy has exceeded MAD 52 billion ($5.65 billion).

The minister said that Morocco was committed to invest a similar amount in the sector in future to fully exploit the potential of renewable energy in the country.

A few years ago, Morocco imported about 90% of its energy needs.

In 2014, the country committed to improve the security of electricity supply by reducing dependence on electricity exports and increasing the use of renewable sources.

Since then, Morocco’s onshore solar and wind energy production has grown significantly.

By the end of 2019, Morocco’s renewable energy capacity reached 3,685 MW, of which 700 MW is solar, 1,215 MW is wind and 1,770 MW is hydro.

The Noor Ouarzazate solar power plant has the largest capacity, with 580 MW. In the wind energy sector, the Tarfaya plant has the largest capacity, with 301 MW.

“These are large investments for the production of electricity so that Morocco does not suffer from any deficit and to control our needs so that the power cuts of 2009 do not happen again,”

Aziz Rabbah – Morocco’s Minister of Energy

Rabbah visited the station to inspect the functioning of the electricity supply network in the city with the General Director of the National Office of Electricity and Drinking Water (ONEE), Abderrahim El Hafidi.

The minister of energy acknowledged that electricity transmission and distribution networks are expensive and require “colossal investments”.

Despite their huge capital requirements, the country has the ambition to include 42% of renewable energies in its electricity mix by the end of 2020.

This includes the production of 6,000 MW of renewable energy and to increase the share of renewable energies to 52% in 2030.

A recent study by the World Bank revealed that among the renewable energy currently being exploited in Morocco, wind energy had a “fantastic” potential that was “too attractive to ignore”.

The wind potential is particularly high on the west coast of the Kingdom, along the Atlantic Ocean where there are excellent wind speeds in shallow and deeper waters suitable for offshore wind.

In addition to developing one of the largest clean energy capacities in the region, Morocco is also pushing ahead with several programmes to improve energy efficiency across its power sector.

The government has set a target for 12% of energy savings by 2020 and has created a new agency to focus on improving energy efficiency in the usage and storage of power across residential and industrial sectors.

As the North African country moves into becoming the first in the region to produce more than 50% of its energy requirements from clean energy by 2030, the next challenge will be to ensure it can use the renewables drive to establish a local supply chain and secure jobs and skills for its citizens.

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