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Renewables: lessons from Morocco

Nicholas Newman Eniday June 2017

Near Ouarzazate, Morocco

The only country in North Africa without commercial scale reserves of oil or gas is Morocco, which depends on imports of variable priced (but usually expensive) fossil fuels to satisfy domestic demand. Currently, annual electricity and fuel imports costing $3 billion supply 96 percent of Morocco’s energy needs. The bulk of oil and petroleum products arrive from Saudi Arabia. Coal comes from South Africa and gas arrives from Algeria through the Maghreb-Europe pipeline, which transits Morocco to Spain. Electricity is imported from Algeria and from Spain via HVDC electric lines. Today, renewable power meets 28 percent of the country’s annual electricity consumption. The National utility company, Office National de l’Electricité et de L’Eau Potable (ONEE) estimates that demand from its 5.6 million industrial and household customers is rising at between 5-6 percent a year. As a result, ONEE plans to double renewable energy capacity by 2030…

The renewable power program

The scale of the renewable program, currently valued at $30 billion is attracting the attention of international investors including Morocco’s Nareva Holdings, Abu Dhabi-based renewables firm Masdar Power and France’s Energie.

Solar

Morocco aims to build 2,000 MW out of its potential 2,600 kWh/m²/ of solar generating capacity at five major sites and save 3.7 million metric tons of CO2 emissions a year. Some solar plants will employ Concentrated Solar Power (CSP) while others will stay with Photovoltaic (PV) technology. The Ouarzazate site will host three CSP plants with total capacity of 580 MW. With Noor CSP technology in terms of price per MW dearer than traditional PV technology, it has the advantage of being able to generate electricity from stored heat for up to three hours after the sun goes down or when it is cloudy. Read  More https://www.eniday.com/en/sparks_en/renewables-lessons-morocco/

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