Morocco aims to boost its renewable capacity to 12 gigawatts by 2030 as the North African country continues to develop new projects to meet its growing power needs and beef up its clean energy capacity.
The country will increase its renewable capacity in the next eight years from more than 5 gigawatts currently, a senior official told The National on the sidelines of the World Utilities Congress in Abu Dhabi on Monday. Renewables will form 52 per cent of the total energy mix by the time, up from 40 per cent currently.
“There is a big investment today to develop [renewables projects] in different regions of the country,” Said Mouline, director general of the Moroccan Agency for Energy Efficiency said.
“We have one of the most competitive wind and solar resources [and] that’s why we reached a very low price with renewables, less than 3 cents per kilowatt hour for wind and between 2 and 3 cents for solar PV.”
The total investment in new renewable projects would be in “billions of dollars”, he said, without disclosing the exact figure.
Morocco, which imports more than 90 per cent of its energy needs, has been one of the early adopters of renewable energy in the Middle East and North Africa.
It has also attracted investment from UAE companies such as Masdar. The Abu Dhabi clean energy company, in partnership with the National Office of Electricity and Drinking Water, has set up a Solar Home System Project to provide energy to nearly 20,000 homes in more than 1,000 rural towns across Morocco.
Masdar is also part of an international consortium that won a tender to construct an 800-megawatt solar power plant in Morocco. Masdar, along with France's EDF Renewables and Green of Africa, based in Casablanca, are constructing an 800MW Noor Midelt solar plant in Morocco.
Morocco is seeking investment from across the world to develop new projects, Mr Mouline said.
“The last tender for a wind project, we had 19 groups [competing[ from all over the world," he said. "At the end, we had three companies, we do infrastructure and they are doing investment.”
Dubai-based AMEA Power recently won a contract to build two solar power plants in Morocco.
The solar projects were awarded to AMEA Power as part of a large international tender launched by the Moroccan Agency for Sustainable Energy (Masen) and the Ministry of Energy Transition and Sustainable Development to construct the first phase of the multi-site solar energy Noor PV II programme, which has a capacity of 330MW.
Many resource-rich Middle Eastern countries are also investing in boosting their renewables capacity as they look to free up their crude for export and to cut emissions.
The UAE, Opec's third-largest oil producer, aims to become carbon neutral by 2050, with clean and renewable energy investments worth Dh600 billion ($163.5bn) planned over the next three decades.
Abu Dhabi, which accounts for a bulk of the UAE's oil production, is building the world’s largest solar plant at Al Dhafra with a capacity of 2 gigawatts, while Dubai is building the world’s largest solar energy park in an effort to reduce reliance on natural gas and diversify its power sources.
The Mohammed bin Rashid Solar Park is expected to generate 5,000MW of electricity by 2030 and to drive up to Dh50bn in investment.
Saudi Arabia, the Arab world’s largest economy, is also building new renewable energy projects as it aims to become carbon neutral by 2060. Jordan, Egypt and Oman are also boosting investments in renewables.