Morocco strives to ensure energy security

In recent years, Morocco has developed an alternative energy strategy aimed at moving away from reliance on oil and gas imports to being a major producer of renewable energy.
Wednesday 24/06/2020
A thermosolar power plant at Noor II Ouarzazate, Morocco. (AFP)
A thermosolar power plant at Noor II Ouarzazate, Morocco. (AFP)

RABAT-- The World Bank highlighted Morocco’s efforts to increase its share of renewable energy to 52% in 2030, noting that it had approved additional financing for the North African country to develop a second solar power complex.

Morocco is seeking to press ahead with an energy transition focused on renewable energy and  innovative solar technology, with the aim of establishing additional productive capacities for electricity totaling 6,000 megawatts from wind, water and solar energy sources.

"The additional financing, which includes $25 million from the Clean Technology Fund, will support the development and construction of the Noor-Midelt I and II plants, which will have a total capacity of 600-800 megawatts,” the World Bank said in a statement.

Situated in south-east of Marrakech, Noor Ouarzazate Solar Complex, one of the largest solar energy stations in the world, is a major part of Morocco’s and Africa’s energy transition. World Bank experts said the project aimed at increasing Africa's energy output while preserving the environment is part of a larger green growth strategy.

“This is yet another step toward a promising clean energy future for Morocco,” said Marie Francoise Marie-Nelly, the World Bank country director for the Maghreb region, adding that “the Noor-Midelt power complex seals Morocco’s position as the region’s pioneer in renewable energy”.

In recent years, Morocco has developed an alternative energy strategy aimed at moving away from reliance on oil and gas imports to being a major producer of renewable energy that can provide for its energy security.

Nour Ouarzazate was built as part of a public-private partnership approach supported by the African Development Bank. In total, the Abidjan-based Bank provided $485 million through its various phases, according to Moroccan news agency (MAP).

"By launching the 'NOOR' solar program in 2009, Morocco has planned, for 2020, an additional capacity of at least 2,000 megawatts for the solar source alone," the African Development Bank, said, MAP reported.

Although renewable energy registered steady growth between 2016 and 2019, a study by the “Cluster solaire” group revealed that the coronavirus pandemic will likely set the sector back by at least two years. As a result, Morocco has begun to forge new strategies to adapt to the global energy transition, including greater reliance on renewable energy and openness to energy markets with the expansion of multiple partnerships with other countries in the framework of international cooperation, exchange of experiences and attracting investments. Morocco leads the Arab world in renewable energy electricity generation, producing 35% of its electrical power in 2018 from renewable energy sources.