Morocco Takes Initiative on Renewables Development

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Morocco Takes Initiative on Renewables Development (OBG) With power consumption in Morocco steadily increasing, the government has adopted a set of amendments to its renewable energy law to attract investments in a range of solar and wind energy projects, said Oxford Business Group (OBG).

The energy efficiency goals laid out in Morocco’s National Energy Strategy of 2008 aim to boost the share of renewable electricity generation to 42% by 2020 and 52% by 2030, the OBG noted in its latest analysis on Morocco.

To help advance this goal, at the end of last year the government amended the kingdom’s renewable energy law, originally promulgated in 2010.

According to OBG experts, the reforms are expected to improve private investors’ participation in the sector by introducing a net metering scheme for solar and wind plants connected to the high-voltage grid.

While the specific terms and conditions of the scheme are not yet set, investors in renewable power will be able to sell their surplus output to the grid, so long as this does not exceed 20% of their annual production.

The legislative changes have also opened up access to Morocco’s low-voltage distribution network, which should encourage development of small and medium-sized renewable power facilities, the OBG stressed.

Although low oil prices saw the nation’s energy bill decrease by 28% in 2015, to $6.6bn, and the current account deficit shrink by almost two percentage points to 2.1% of GDP, the county’s dependency on global energy markets is generally seen as vulnerability, the OBG said.

It added that power consumption has grown annually by 5-6% since 1991, and as industrial activity expands and the population continues to grow, Morocco is expected to see a five-fold increase in energy demand by 2050.

Morocco already fulfils 97% of its energy requirements through imports, so making use of the country’s renewable sources is seen as a key to expanding domestic production.

Central to meeting renewables targets is the Morocco Solar Plan (MSP), which was devised in 2009 to tap the country’s abundant solar potential – its annual irradiation levels are around 2.6 MWh per sq metre, the analysts underlined.

As part of the strategy, the kingdom earmarked $9bn for the development of photovoltaic (PV) and concentrated solar power (CSP) projects. As related projects come on-stream, the segment’s contribution to the energy mix is expected to reach 14% – or 2 GW – by 2020, the OBG noted.

It added that the biggest and most advanced of these is the $2.7bn Noor solar complex in the south-central town of Ouarzazate. The 2000-ha site will eventually have an installed capacity of 580 MW when completed in 2018.

Oxford Business Group is a global publishing, research and consultancy firm, which publishes economic articles on the markets of the Middle East, Africa, Asia and Latin America and the Caribbean.

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