Morocco has started the new year with environmentally friendly measures that represent a shift to a greener and cleaner energy transition. From 1 January, all Al Boraq trains - Morocco's high-speed trains - will switch to clean energy. This plan is being carried out by ONCF, the National Office of Railways in Morocco, which will begin its energy transformation gradually. First, it will start using 25% of its total consumption of green energy, and by next year the increase will be 50%. Thus, in several changes, the Alawi country's trains will reach a point where 100% of the vehicles' energy will be totally clean.
The main objective of the ONCF is to improve the carbon footprint in the short term. The Kingdom, with this plan, would avoid 120,000 tonnes of CO2 (carbon dioxide) which can be compared to planting four million trees.
For its part, if the project is fully achieved, the Al Boraq trains would be the first rail vehicles in the world to offer eco-responsible travel, which would be based entirely on 100% wind power. According to the Office, customers will be able to enjoy new conveniences such as good and better travel, responsible, comfortable, safe and fast journeys, as well as reducing carbon emissions. In addition, to raise awareness among users of the train network, the ONFC will also launch marketing campaigns to promote responsible energy use.
In addition, in order for this plan to achieve its objective, the Office reminds that travelling by train is one of the best ways to reduce your consumption. Trains emit 25 to 30 times less greenhouse gases compared to other modes of transport.
The project is in line with the energy strategy of the Alawi country, which is prioritising renewable energies, making them the energy hub of the Kingdom. Since 2009, King Mohammed VI has been stressing the importance of using environmentally friendly ways of consuming and producing energy. "Today, we are not only carrying out projects related to renewable energies, but we have a global strategy with objectives to achieve. For example, in 2009 we set a target of 42% renewable energy capacity by 2020. Today, the target is 52% capacity by 2030," said the Alawi monarch.
Morocco has been making major changes in recent years in favour of environmentalism, which are accruing great benefits for the nation. According to the MIT Technology Review, the Kingdom's work with the environment is impressive and it is the leader in the use of renewable energy in the entire MENA region (Middle East and North Africa), as well as being the first country on the continent to pioneer the use of these new materials.
The country's authorities have been making changes for the past 15 years, after realising that Morocco was previously 90 % dependent on the energy sector, which meant that its energy consumption was increasing. The plan followed reports, which the Kingdom's authorities used as an opportunity to start making changes.
The new projects have enabled the region to undergo an unprecedented energy transformation. At the moment, the nation has major projects that make use of the great natural resources offered by the territory's nature, which the various directives have been able to use to their advantage. One example is the Noor Ourzazate solar complex, which uses solar thermal and photovoltaic energy and produces around 580 megawatts.
"Morocco has a fantastic wind resource that is too attractive to ignore. It has great potential to develop its wind energy capacity, suggesting that the North African country is poised to become a key energy supplier to the European market," says Mark Leybourne, an energy specialist who was interviewed by Erns & Young, after it was published that Morocco is the first country in the MENA region with the most potential in the fight against climate change.