Morocco is committed to green energy

With the entry of the carbon tax in Europe, the promotion of green energies such as wind and solar energy is one of the keys to the development of the country's energy policies

AFP/FADEL SENNA  -   An aerial view of the solar mirrors of the Noor 1 concentrated solar power plant near the city of Ouarzazate

Morocco is trying to bolster its international image by presenting itself as a climate leader by pointing to its renewable energy industry.  

Despite the announcement last week of the closure of Siemens Gamesa, located in the free trade zone in the city of Tangier, the Kingdom has strengthened its commitment to renewable energy. Although renewable energy has become a strategic factor in economic development, Morocco remains highly dependent on the international energy market, importing more than 90% of its energy needs. 

In order to reduce its energy dependence, the country adopted a new strategy in 2009 which aimed to achieve a 52% share of energy production in the Kingdom by 2030. The impetus of this strategy was supported by the country's geographical location, as it could act as a bridge for energy transfer between Africa and the European continent, thanks to its strategic assets in terms of interconnection infrastructures, according to the vice-president of the Egyptian Natural Gas Holding Company (EGAS), Samir al-Quarish. Projects are multiplying, the National Office of Electricity and Drinking Water (ONEE) has just awarded Siemens Gamesa, following a call for tenders, the operation and maintenance contract for the Dhar Saadane site for a period of 12 months and a total amount of 20.4 million dirhams.

PHOTO/REUTERS - The Noor II solar thermal power plant in Ouarzazate

Progress in photovoltaic energy is no exception, as a new green city is being built in Tangier, where some 72 hectares will be filled with solar panels that will generate 30MW of power. "In addition, several green projects have been launched, including the city of Chrafat on 700 hectares and the Mohammed VI Tangier Tech City on 2,100 hectares," recalls the daily Les Insiprations Eco. 

The Kingdom's roadmap includes increasing the share of renewable energies, developing the electricity grid, interconnection with neighbouring countries, and implementing the roadmap on marine and geothermal energy. According to Al-Quarish, Morocco is set to rank first among MENA countries in the Green Future Index, published by the MIT Technology Review platform, which ranks 76 countries and territories according to their progress towards a green future.   

Projected to 2021, the programme aims to provide support to the country's MSMEs by functioning as a tool for financing decarbonisation. In addition, the Kingdom will provide many facilities such as a financial support of 30% with a ceiling of 2 million dirhams per project and grants of 1.5 million dirhams related to the design and development of the industrial product. These mechanisms are in addition to the various credit lines guaranteed by the Société de Garantie et de Financement des Entreprises (SNGFE, formerly CCG) under the umbrella of "Green Invest", up to 40%, with a ceiling of 10 million dirhams.

AFP/FADEL SENNA  -   An aerial view of the solar mirrors of the Noor 1 concentrated solar power plant near the city of Ouarzazate

Finally, the ambitions of the New Development Model (NMD) place energy as a lever of attraction and development, with a view to triggering a real competitiveness shock, based on price-based criteria and different low-carbon production methods. 

Such an approach will also make it possible to guarantee the Kingdom's energy security (in terms of both volumes and prices), and to make it a global player not only in terms of sustainability, but also in terms of renewable energy production. In this respect, a strong boost must be given to R&D, as well as to the industrial-scale production of equipment enabling energy production.