Morocco’s hard work to manage its economic future, despite the global economy continuing stagnation, has started to pay off as per this recent news that raised its profile and ranking amongst countries investing in renewable energies.  Morocco’s Masen to lead renewables build-up means the country continues to lead all MENA countries in its investment in solar, wind, and hydro power projects.

According to Ernst and Young (E&Y),  “Morocco is the most attractive green energy market in MENA, as several large-scale solar photovoltaic (PV) and CSP projects have already entered the construction phase, and there are more solar tenders coming.  On the subject meanwhile, an article of SeeNews Renewables by Mariyana Yaneva, was published on September 29th, 2016 under the title :

Morocco’s Masen to lead renewables build-up of 6,000 MW by 2030

The Moroccan Agency for Sustainable Energy or Masen has officially taken the lead for the development of an additional renewable energy capacity of 6,000 MW by 2030 . . .

The agency will be responsible for bringing online an additional capacity of 6,000 MW by 2030. Of these, nearly 3,000 MW will have to be commissioned within the next four years. It will be involved at every stage of the development, from pre-planning and siting through financing, construction and operation of the power plants.

Over a transitional period of 5 years ONEE, the Moroccan Power Utility company will gradually transfer to Masen all properties, including real estate, as well as contracts and employees related to renewable energy generation.

Well ahead of the above event taking place, a case study outlining the key role of the ‘Moroccan Agency for Solar Energy’ (MASEN) in enabling the country to attract private investment for its first large concentrated solar power installation as part of a wider energy and industrial development strategy was undertaken by GGBP, the Green Growth Best Practice.   It goes on to elaborate on the topic as per these excerpts below.  These highlight how renewable energy can only be outsourced in a long and arduous process that starts as described below with the funding phase.

Context

In recent years Morocco has imported 95% of its energy as fossil fuels, providing subsidies on these fuels at a cost between US$1-4 billion per year. With a growing population, rising living standards and increasing power demand from cities and energy intensive industry, key priorities are to increase and diversify the energy supply, and manage public costs (Nabil, 2013).

With natural resources for wind, hydro and solar, renewables are recognized as offering the opportunity to reduce dependence on imports while generating employment and cutting greenhouse gas emission, with the potential for future green electricity exports to Europe (Dominguez, 2013). Concentrated solar power (CSP) is seen as a particularly important opportunity because of its ability for storage and the chance build up a local supply industry in an emerging industry (African Development Bank, 2013).

Objective

The government set a goal of reaching 42% of installed capacity (or 6,000 MW) from renewable energy (hydro, wind and solar) by 2020, whilst doubling overall capacity (Norton Rose Fulbright, 2012). Through the Morocco Solar Plan (MSP) it aims to install 2,000 MW of solar capacity by 2020, contributing around 14% of the energy mix in the country’s electricity supply. The plan calls for the construction of 5 solar complexes in requiring an estimated investment of $9 billion. (African Development Bank, 2012) .

Challenge

CSP is currently more expensive than fossil fuel based energy generation (even if fossil fuel subsidies are removed), thus requiring a blend of public subsidy and risk mitigation instruments to attract private investors.

The government’s previous involvement in the development of CSP had been limited to a 20MW plant (Ain Beni Mathar) developed by the national utility office (l’Office National de l’Electricité – ONE), while existing privately financed CSP instillations were small scale and built for private use. The MSP (including Ourzazate 1, 2 and 3) are much larger developments which would place a large financial burden on the existing energy and fiscal system (see Table 1) (CSP World).

Please read more in the original GGBP document at the address given above.

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