The interest that renewable energies generate in Morocco is understandable, given their very low level of reserves and production of conventional fuels; it is also admirable for a developing economy. Oil production of only 5,000 barrels/day (bpd) means Morocco has to import 230,000 bdp at a cost of US$ 8,000 m per year.
As far as natural gas is concerned, in 2011 this was a measly 2,000 m ft3 which means they have to import 4’6 million tons of coal per year to keep the power stations running.
It is this situation of scarce fossil fuels and an ever increasing demand from the country’s 35 million inhabitants that Morocco is placing special emphasis on the development of wind and solar power. Their plans are considered the best on the African continent.
Several solar power projects have already been started and total capacity is projected to reach 2,000 MW by 2020. The Renewable Energies Law envisages the development and construction of small scale plants of less than 2 MW which makes it easy for private investment in remote areas. Another initiative is for the installation of Solar Water Heaters (SWH). Forecasts for 2020 envisage a total of 1’7 million m2 of panels producing a power output of 1,190 Gwh.
In May of 2013, construction was started on a 160 MW solar plant close to the city of Ouarzazate in south-eastern Morocco. The total cost of the plant will be US$ 630 million. In other parts of the country, several plants from the first phase will come on line during 2014 bringing 50 MW into the grid.
Although wind power was only 280 MW in 2010, the Moroccan Government has plans to increase this to 2,000 MW by installing new wind parks across the country.
In the South of the country, close to the town of Tarfaya, plans are going ahead to build the largest wind park in Africa. Connection to the grid is forecast for the end of 2014 , at a cost of US$ 640 million, the park will comprise 131 wind turbines generating close on 300 MW.
The Moroccan Renewable Energies Law (N 13-09) was drafted specifically to manage and stimulate investments in the industry. The Government has created two specialised departments to oversee the plans. Firstly to further and follow up the execution of the different projects and to evaluate advances in energy efficiency.
In 2012, Morocco generated a total of 6,620 MW and, fruit of these undertakings, consumption is growing at around 6% annually. Against this backdrop, the country is planning to invest a total US$ 13,500 million over the next four years. By this time, renewable energies will account for 40% of the North African country’s total production.
Renewable energy plants are notoriously expense to build, but running costs once in service are far below those of other sources and, in particular, those of fossil fuels.
The environmental advantages of wind and solar power are self-evident and have been developed in accordance with the United Nations Clean Development Mechanism (UNCDM). These measures are aimed at reducing carbon dioxide emissions and working within the guidelines of the mechanism makes preferential financing and subsidies available.
In a nut shell, the outlook for the renewable energy industry in Morocco is looking rosy. The Moroccan Government’s development strategy is, in itself, encouraging, but the individual executive plans described therein make it doubly attractive. The ongoing projects ensure the creation of openings for years into the future and offer good opportunities for Catalan companies and their investments.
We at International Team Consulting can help you with expansion plans in the Moroccan renewable energies industry. Our team of experts in international trade development will advise you all the way when executing your strategies.
For further information, please contact:
Managing Partner at International Team Consulting