Since 2012, Morocco has launched one of the largest solar power projects in the world, at an estimated cost of $9 billion. The project aims to create 2,000 megawatts of solar generation capacity. The Moroccan Agency for Solar Energy (MASEN), a public-private company, was created to lead the project and once completed, the solar project will provide 38% of Morocco’s annual electricity generation. Why Morocco?
– Solar power in Morocco is possible because the country has one of the highest rates of solar insolation among other countries: about 3,000 hours a year of sunshine, but up to 3,600 hours in the desert. Northeast Africa is particularly notable for its world records for sunshine. The area experiences one of the longest average annual durations of bright sunshine in the world.
– Morocco is the only African country to have a power cable link to Europe. The cable sent 5756 GWh from Spain to Morocco in 2017, and very little in the opposite direction.
– The energy needs of the water sector in Morocco are predicted to increase, not least because the water table of aquifers is reduced with overexploitation. Thus, the cost and energy intensity of pumping will increase considerably.
– More than 90% of farmers hesitate to choose solar pumping systems for financing reasons, even if they are completely convinced of their economic relevance in the long term.
– The total installed capacity in Morocco in 2015 is 8154 MW, with 34% of renewable energy with the following mix: coal (32%), natural gas (11%), hydropower (22%), fuel oil and diesel (24%), solar (2%) and wind (10%).
On the other hand, there are the objectives described in Morocco’s Nationally Determined Contribution (NDC) are (AMEE, 2018b):
– Achieve 52% of installed electrical power from renewable sources, including 20% solar, 20% wind and 12% hydro by 2030 (compared to 34% in 2015).
– Achieve energy savings of 15% by 2030, compared to trend development.
– Reduce energy consumption in buildings, industry and transport by 12% by 2020 and 15% by 2030.
– Install by 2030 an additional 3,900 MW capacity in combined cycle technology running on imported natural gas.
Why are energy needs forecast to increase?
– The opening of drip irrigation projects.
– The implementation of desalination and water transfer projects.
– The use of energy-intensive conventional resources for water supply.
– The development of new sanitation activities and wastewater treatment plants.
Therefore, thanks to the European Union and the Horizon 2020 project funds, Morocco has emerged as a great investment opportunity, both in terms of capital and work in renewables. If you are interested and want to learn more, access the shared documents you will find here.