The abundant combo of wind, sun and space in Morocco is far more than most African countries regarding renewable energy potential. The motivation to go green has furthermore never been tougher, as the energy-importing nation has seen its domestic demand steadily rise. In order to pre-empt an energy squeeze, the Moroccan government has moved to dramatically increase its national solar capacity through a €6.6bn agenda, and increase the potential for future energy exports.

By the year 2020 FIVE solar power stations are planned to be constructed with the tender for the first slated to begin at the end of February.  When all five plants are on-line, they are expected to meet 20% of Morocco’s energy needs.

Morocco is open to all forms of partnership as long as the foreign firms have the capabilities to bring expertise, technology and know-how. We are looking for public-private as well as national-and-foreign partnerships.

The minister’s call was clearly heard; with the Japanese government signing a €5.4m deal in January 2010 to help build what will be Africa’s largest photovoltaic plant in Assa-Zag, Morocco. Lacking the hydrocarbons reserves of its neighbours, Morocco currently imports 97% of its energy. Demand, which has grown 5-7% per year on average over the past decade, is projected to increase from 24 GWh in 2008 to 95 GWh by 2030. As a result, the government has turned to developing its renewable energy capacity – under the current national energy strategy up to 10% of Morocco’s energy will come from renewable sources by 2012.

With 3000 hours of sunshine per year, solar power is another option for Morocco that has hitherto been confined predominantly to villages. In the past 10 years, the Programme for Rural Electrification (Programme d’Electrification Rurale) has brought power to 150,000 homes by the use of photo voltaic kits. With capacity totaling 2000 MW, the five planned solar plants will dramatically increase the role of solar energy within the national strategy.

Morocco’s suitable climate, as well as the vast expanses of space in the Sahara, has not gone ignored by the entire world, which is also struggling to wean itself off an oil dependency.

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