x Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 23 July 2017

Morocco sets target for 50 per cent renewable energy by 2030

Morocco’s limited hydrocarbon resources has pushed it to be a front-runner in the renewable energy race.

Wind turbines are pictured at the wind farm of Dahr Saadane, in Tangiers. Reuters
Wind turbines are pictured at the wind farm of Dahr Saadane, in Tangiers. Reuters

PARIS // Morocco, which will host the next climate change conference in November next year, plans to derive more than half of its energy from renewable sources by 2030, the country’s energy minister said.

The North African country raised its renewable energy target from 42 per cent by 2020 to 52 per cent by 2030. That 42 per cent will consist of 2 gigawatts each of solar, wind and hydropower.

“Between now and [the next conference], many projects will have come to light and we will prove that we can match our energy demands with renewables,” Abdelkader Amara said at the Re-energise the Future event in Paris on Sunday.

Morocco’s limited hydrocarbon resources has pushed it to be a front-runner in the renewable energy race.

The UK-based Oxford Business Group said that the country provided a “relatively stable haven” for private investment but the renewable energy sector’s development will depend on further regulation.

Five years ago, Morocco initiated its renewable energy law, which gave the opportunity for the development of private power production, allowing investors to construct renewable energy projects and sell the electricity directly to customers.

The Moroccan Agency for Solar Energy was also established at that time with a mandate to implement the Moroccan Solar Plan that would invest €7.7 billion (Dh30.61bn) in several solar projects.

This has given companies such as Saudi Arabia’s Acwa Power a boost. Acwa is involved in Morocco’s solar sector for three phases of the Noor concentrated solar power (CSP) project totalling 510 megawatts with another 160MW for the Ouarzazate CSP park.

International financial institutions are also climbing on board for Moroccan renewables.

Last month, the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development announced it would finance its first private renewables project in the country.

The bank, in collaboration with Banque Marocaine du Commerce Exterieur and the Clean Technology Fund, will provide €126 million for the construction, operation and maintenance of the 120MW Khalladi wind farm near Tangiers.

Mr Amara said that while some countries wanted to take their time incorporating renewable energy, Morocco wanted to accelerate its green economy.

“Renewable energy needs to be embedded in our economies and it needs to be regulated within the framework of market economies without the need for subsidies,” he said.

He added that the country’s Ouarzazate solar programme has helped save the country 15 per cent in energy costs within one year.

“We need to convince people who are hesitating,” Mr Amara said. “Whether one is for or against, everyone agrees that renewable energy is the future.”

Meanwhile, Marrakech, which will host the COP22 summit in November next year, “will be an edition of innovation in adaptation to and mitigation of climate change effects”, said Hakima El Haite, the Moroccan delegate-minister for environment.

lgraves@thenational.ae

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