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The Saga of energies

Morocco: The Energy Challenges of an Emerging Economy

In partnership with La Recherche and L’Histoire

Morocco's energy situation is inseparable from its environment. With next to no identified fossil fuel resources (oil, gas or coal), Morocco depends heavily on imports to meet more than 90% of its energy needs.

As a developing economy, Morocco has witnessed a continuous rise in energy demand since the early 20th century, driven by industrialization, overall economic development and rising living standards. Demand has grown by an average of 6% to 7% a year over the last 25 years. At the same time, a new danger has appeared in the form of climate change, threatening the already water-poor country with potentially catastrophic consequences.

In response, the Moroccan authorities have rolled out an assertive, ambitious strategy aimed primarily at developing renewable energies. In doing so, the country has given itself the resources to accomplish its goals, and is now starting to reap the first rewards.


  • THE HISTORY OF ENERGY
    IN MOROCCO
  • ENERGY CHOICES
  • MOROCCO TODAY
  • FUTURE CHALLENGES

Milestones in Morocco's Energy History

  • XIXe
  • XXe
  • XXIe
 
Late 19th-early 20th century: First concessions granted
Premières concessions
© casa-lesroches.com - JO GARCIA (EEM former employee)

In the French protectorate in Morocco, private companies in the main cities were granted concessions to generate powerIn physics, power is the amount of energy supplied by a system per unit time. In simpler terms, power can be viewed as energy output... using small hydroelectric plants, steam boilers and dieselDiesel is the name of an internal combustion engine that works by compression-ignition... engines, then distribute it. Société Marocaine de Distribution d'Eau, de Gaz et d'Électricité (SMD) was founded in 1914.

1924: Énergie Électrique du Maroc (EEM) founded

Things changed in the 1920s, when a railway network had to be laid to mine the country's phosphate reserves – the largest in the world – and transport the commodity to the Port of Casablanca. Electric trains were chosen due to the lack of good quality local coalCoal is ranked by its degree of transformation or maturity, increasing in carbon content from..., giving a decisive boost to electric power generation. To meet demand, French engineers decided to tap the hydroelectric potential of Morocco's Atlas Mountains. Here rainfall can reach up to 1,500 mm a year – on a par with the wettest parts of the Basque Country – while average rainfall in the rest of Morocco is a mere 346 mm a year, which is less than half that of France (836 mm/year). This meant pacifying the entire Atlas Mountains region, through which run the main waterways suitable for major hydropower projects. Énergie Électrique du Maroc (EEM) was founded in 1924 to generate and transmit electricityForm of energy resulting from the movement of charged particles (electrons) through a conductor....

1929: Morocco's first hydropower plant opened
Usine hydrolique Maroc
© casa-lesroches.com - JO GARCIA (EEM former employee)

Morocco's first hydropower plant, Sidi Maachou (4 x 5.5 MW), was built between 1925 and 1929. The plant is located on the Er-Rbia River in Morocco's Middle Atlas Mountains. The 14 MW El Kansera and 7 MW Kasbah Zidania plants followed, coming on stream in 1934 and 1936, respectively. In 1953, operations began at the Bin el Ouidane complex, which comprises a dam and a hydropower plant (initial capacity of 40 MW, now 135 MW) located on the El-Abid River, the main tributary of the Er-Rbia. Standing 132 meters high, the dam was for years the tallest in Africa. While hydropower was the preferred source of energy, its use was limited by the occasional lack of sufficient water volumes. As a result, hydro was supplemented by thermal power from burning fuelFuel is any solid, liquid or gaseous substance or material that can be combined with an oxidant... oil and coal. In 1954, the country's installed capacityThe power generation capacity of a particular plant. It is usually expressed in megawatts (or sometimes even gigawatts)... reached 249 MW, with 144 MW (58%) from hydro and 105 MW (42%) from thermal sources.

1963: Foundation of the Moroccan electric utility, Office National de l'Électricité (ONE)

Morocco reorganized its electricity sector following independence in 1956, gradually terminating concessions and taking control of what it considered to be a strategic industry. Office National de l'Électricité (ONE), a state-owned utility, was set up in January 1963. Its mission, as defined by founding Royal Decree No. 1-63-226 of August 5, 1963, was to ensure the public service of electricity generation, transmission and distribution. ONE was later expanded to include drinking water, becoming Office National de l'Électricité et de l'Eau Potable (ONEE). The office falls under the authority of the Moroccan Ministry of Energy, Mines, Water and the Environment.

1974: Hassan II steps up dam construction
Moyen Age
© MOROCCAN TV / AFP

The post-independence period was marked by fast-paced construction of new dams. In 1974, Hassan II, who reigned from 1961 to 1999, announced a target of creating one million hectares of irrigated land. Backed by a significant budget, the large-dam building program aimed to supply water mainly for farming and for use in cities.

1981: The second oil crisis hits

From mid-1978 to 1981, the price of the benchmark Arabian Light crude rose 2.7 times, from less than $13 a barrelUnit of volume measurement for crude oil that is equivalent to approximately 159 liters (0.159 cubic meters)... to $34, sparking the second oil crisis An oil shortage that may be real, predicted or caused by speculation...(the first was in 1973). At the same time, Morocco's macro-economic indicators took a turn for the worse, with an increase in the budget deficit and negative balance of payments, mounting debt, and a decline in phosphate prices. The situation was exacerbated by the 1981 drought, which hurt local farming and, as a consequence, the Moroccan economy as a whole. In response, the Moroccan government embarked on a structural adjustment program (SAP) recommended by the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the World Bank, which included a combination of economic adjustments and structural reforms such as privatizations and deregulation of foreign trade that continued throughout the 1990s. This marked the beginning of a new chapter in Morocco's economy.

1994: The electricity sector deregulated
Liberalisation de l'éléctricité
© AFP / ABDELHAK SENNA

In 1994, Decree No. 2-94-503 allowed privately owned power plants with capacities of up to 10 MW to be developed under contract with ONEE. This led to the emergence of private power producers, including the country's first wind farms. In 2008, Act No. 16-08 raised the threshold from 10 MW to 50 MW. Today industrial producers, such as mines, phosphate processing plants, sugar refineries and cement works, account for less than 1% of electricity generation in Morocco. Private producers supply more than 40%, with the remainder provided by ONEE (40%) and imports from Spain (slightly less than 20%).

1995: Rural electrification, a big success
Éléctrification rural
© THINKSTOCK

In 1995, Morocco embarked on its Comprehensive Rural Electrification Program (PERG), a crucial initiative given that rural residents accounted for 48% of the country's total population at the time. The highly successful program lifted rural electrification rates from 14% in 1990 to 98% today and won praise from economists and international organizations alike. As a consequence of PERG's success, demand for electricity in Morocco rose by a solid 7% per year between 2002 and 2012.

2002: Morocco ratifies the Kyoto Protocol

Morocco has shown a strong commitment to combatting climate change. It ratified the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) in 1995, followed by the kyoto protocolInternational agreement linked to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change... in 2002. A National Climate Change Committee has been in place since 1996.

2004: Electricity comes to Casablanca's shanty towns
Éléctricité dans les bidonvilles
© ABDELHAK SENNA / AFP

Morocco was not left out during the giant wave of privatization that swept through the energy industry in the 1990s. In the greater Casablanca area (population 4.2 million), a novel concession plan was put in place after water supply, power distribution, rain and wastewater collection and public lighting services were all granted to a single operator in 1997: Lyonnaise des Eaux Casablanca (Lydec), a subsidiary of France's Lyonnaise des Eaux (now Suez Environnement). It was the first public service concession granted since independence, and was viewed at the time as a testing ground for the management of public services in emerging economy megacities. After initially encountering difficulties with informal grids and power theft in shanty towns, Lydec managed to bring electricity to three quarters of the area's shanty towns between 2001 and 2004.

2009: The turning point
2009 : Le grand tournant
© AFP / FADEL SENNA

In 2009, Morocco set out its National Energy Strategy for 2020 with a focus on optimizing the energy mixThe range of energy sources of a region. in the electricity sector; stepping up the development of energy from renewable sources, especially wind, solar and hydropower; making energy efficiencyIn economic terms, energy efficiency refers to the efforts made to reduce the energy consumption of a system... a national priority; encouraging more foreign investment in upstream oil and gas; and promoting greater regional integration. The strategy's overriding objective is to increase the installed capacity of renewable energies, namely hydro, solar and wind power, to 42% by 2020. Also in 2009, Morocco kicked off its Solar Power Plan, earmarking five sites with the aim of achieving a capacity of 2,000 MW by 2020. And it unveiled the National Plan of Action Against Global WarmingGlobal warming, also called planetary warming or climate change..., which set the country's first greenhouse gas (ghg) Gas with physical properties that cause the Earth's atmosphere to warm up. There are a number of naturally occurring greenhouse gases... (GHG) emissions reduction targets for the energy and manufacturing sectors.

2010: A legal and institutional framework introduced for renewables
Mise en place du cadre juridique des energies renouvelables
© ABDELHAK SENNA

The Moroccan government is introducing all of the tools it needs to achieve its renewable energyEnergy sources that are naturally replenished so quickly that they can be considered inexhaustible on a human time scale... targets. In 2010, it passed Act No. 13-09 on renewable energies and set up the Moroccan Agency for the Development of Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency (ADEREE) and the Moroccan Agency for Solar Energy (MASEN), a company that promotes and participates in renewable energy projects. The Research Institute on Solar Energy and Renewable Energies (IREEN) was founded in 2011. Morocco stands out as a pioneer among developing economies for its promotion of renewable energies.

2015: Subsidies on petroleum products eliminated

As part of ongoing structural reforms, Morocco took the decisive step of ending a number of subsidies that were weighing on the country's finances. In 2014, it phased out subsidies on premium gasoline and fuel oil, then did the same for diesel on January 1, 2015. As a result, Morocco no longer subsidizes any petroleum products except butane. The government has pledged to extend the reform by fully deregulating petroleum product pricing.

Energy Choices

Morocco is heavily dependent on imports to meet its energy needs. Fully 91% of its energy is sourced from abroad, with imports including crude oilOil that has not been refined., petroleum products, coal, gas from Algeria, and electricity from Spain via dual interconnectors. Despite an active policy of on- and offshoreRefers to sea-based oil exploration and production operations, as in "offshore license" or "offshore drilling". exploration, no significant reserves of preservation (hydrocarbons)The final phase in petroleum system formation, after a deposit has accumulated... have yet been discovered. Morocco's goal is to secure the most reliable and sustainable energy supply at the lowest possible cost.

Stepping up Efforts to Optimize the Energy Mix

Optimizing the electricity mix is one of the five priorities of Morocco's National Energy Strategy. The country had installed power generation capacity of 8,160 MW in 2015, which it plans to develop as part of a coherent, industrially sensible plan. One of the main focuses of this plan is the development of renewable energies, such as hydro, wind and solar power. Production from renewables reached 3,950 million KWh in 2014, or 11.8% of total power generation, with hydro and wind power coming in almost even at 2,033 KWh and 1,914 KWh, respectively.

 

Morocco currently has installed hydropower capacity of 1,400 MW. This looks set to increase with new hydropower projects such as the El Menzel complex south of Fez (125 MW), the mini-hydropower plant (3 MW) program, and the construction of pumped-storage power plants like the 350 MW Abdelmoumen project near Agadir. Pumped-storage plants are a special type of hydropower plant with two reservoirs at different heights. Water is pumped to the upper reservoir during off-peak times. Then, during periods of high demand, the water is released through turbines to generate electricity. In all, Morocco's installed hydropower capacity is expected to rise to 2,000 MW by 2020, with identical forecasts for wind and solar power.

 

Accounting for more than 40% of Morocco's electricity generation, coal remains the country's main source of energy. And the government has no plans to reduce its dependence on this resource. But as Morocco does not produce sufficient coal of its own, it is obliged to import it. The country's total coal-fired power generation capacity is expected to increase by 170% between 2013 and 2017 with the new Safi power plant (two times 700 MW) and extensions to the Jorf Lasfar and Jeralda plants.

 

The next step in Morocco's plan is to develop power generation capacity from imported liquefied natural gas (LNG)LNG is composed almost entirely of methane. Liquefying the gas reduces its initial volume by a factor of around 600.... Currently, Morocco sources its natural gas from the royalties that it receives for gas transported from Algeria over a 522 km stretch of its territory via the Maghreb-Europe Gas PipelinePipeline used to transport gas over a long distance, either on land or on the seabed. (1,620 km). As Morocco does not wish to depend entirely on Algeria – relations between the two countries have been strained due to the ongoing dispute over Morocco's Saharan provinces, with Algeria backing the Polisario Front independence movement – the government has chosen to focus on increasing LNG imports for regasification then sale to generate electricity. The very ambitious Gas to Power project aims to build an LNG regasification terminal in Safi, several gas-fired combined cycle power plants with an installed capacity of 2,400 MW, a gas pipeline and associated facilities. Natural gas is expected to make up 30% of the energy mix by 2025.

 

Morocco is also placing its hopes in nuclear power. Abdelkader Amara, Morocco's Energy Minister, was quoted in October 2015 as saying that Morocco planned to produce electricity from nuclear energyEnergy produced in nuclear power plants. The enormous amount of heat released during fission of uranium atom nuclei is transferred to water... "starting in 2030". The country currently only has one experimental 2 MW reactor used for research into nuclear medicine. On September 3, 2015, Morocco's Governing Council passed a decree establishing the Moroccan Nuclear and Radiation Safety and Security Agency.

Wind and Solar Power: Words into Action

Morocco has great potential when it comes to renewable energies. Wind profiles – the strength and direction of the wind – in the country's north and south are particularly suitable for the development of wind power, thanks to the regular, steady breeze. Morocco also has abundant sunshine. The government has decided to harness these "comparative advantages" to stimulate development in wind and solar power, setting a target of 2,000 MW of installed capacity for each of the two energy sources.

 

The initial results are promising. Wind power projects began in the early 2000s and Morocco now has operational facilities with a combined capacity of 280 MW. New plants under construction are expected to add another 720 MW. The country is also in the process of completing its integrated wind power program. Phase 1 is underway with the construction of the 150 MW Taza wind farm, and a call for tenders for five other farms (850 MW) has been launched (submissions of technical bids opened on October 30, 2015). The 2,000 MW target looks realistic.

 

The situation is different for solar energy. Here, apart from a 20 MW unit in the Ain Beni Mathar solar/gas plant (total capacity of 470 MW), Morocco has to start from scratch. That said, it is close to bringing on stream its first large-scale solar power plant, the 160 MW Noor 1 close to Ouarzazate, and has two other plants in the pipeline: Noor 2 (200 MW) and Noor 3 (150 MW). Morocco's preference has gone to concentrated solar power technology, because, in addition to offering greater stability, the thermodynamic plants have the advantage of being able to delay power generation by a few hours to meet strong demand in the evening. The cold water used in the system is sourced from the El-Mansour Eddahbi Dam. The first solar plants have recently been inaugurated and, once all are complete, they will spread across 3,000 hectares and feed a total of 500 MW into the grid. In the future, however, the country's electric utility could shift toward photovoltaics (PV). ONEE's electricity division has already selected PV technology for a program to build three plants with a total capacity of 400 MW in regions located at the end of transmission lines. Morocco is also running the PROMASOL program to install solar water heaters.

 

While there are still a number of unknowns, notably in terms of choice of technology (solar) and project scheduling, Morocco's program is already making its first tangible achievements and setting an example for other developing economies, particularly in Africa.

Energy Efficiency, a National Priority

According to figures from the International Energy Agency (IEA)An independent, intergovernmental organization founded within the framework of the OECD..., Morocco's primary energyAll energy sources that have not undergone any conversion process and remain in their natural state.. consumption grew by 80% between 2002 and 2014, increasing the country's energy imports from 5.1% to 10% of GDP over the same period. In volume, energy imports have swelled by 59%. For the IEA, considerable progress must be made to catch up with the level of energy efficiency observed in organization for economic co-operation and development (oecd)Founded in 1960, the OECD promotes policies that will improve the economic and social well-being of people around the world... countries.

 

The Moroccan authorities are fully aware of the challenge they face. The country's new National Energy Strategy has made energy efficiency a national priority, and an Energy Efficiency Act (No. 47-09) was passed in 2011 to align the main sectors of the economy with this goal.

 

Morocco has also implemented a range of measures to improve efficiency, including incentive-based pricing systems such as "-20/-20", under which households that reduce their consumption by 20% receive a 20% rate discount. Other measures include the adoption of thermal regulations to cap energy consumption in new buildings, an audit program for existing buildings, widespread use of energy-saving light bulbs (seven million bulbs delivered to date), the development of light rail, and an import ban on vehicles older than five years.

 

While plenty remains to be done, Morocco's energy efficiency program has been praised by experts around the world. Its goal is to reduce energy use by 12% by 2020, and 15% by 2030.

Stepping up Efforts to Optimize the Energy Mix

Optimizing the energy mix is one of the five priorities of Morocco's National Energy Strategy. One of the main paths to achieving this is the development of renewable energies, such as hydro, wind and solar power. Production from renewables reached 3,950 million KWh in 2014, or 11.8% of total power generation, with hydro and wind power coming in almost even at 2,033 KWh and 1,914 KWh, respectively.

 

Morocco currently has an installed hydropower capacity of 1,400 MW. This looks set to increase with new hydropower projects such as the El Menzel complex south of Fez (125 MW), the mini-hydropower plant (3 MW) program, and the construction of pumped-storage power plants like the 350 MW Abdelmoumen project near Agadir. Pumped-storage plants are a special type of hydropower plant with two reservoirs at different heights. Water is pumped to the upper reservoir during off-peak times. Then, during periods of high demand, the water is released through turbines to generate electricity. In all, Morocco's installed hydropower capacity is expected to rise to 2,000 MW by 2020, with identical forecasts for wind and solar power.

 

Accounting for more than 40% of Morocco's electricity generation, coal remains the country's main source of energy. And the government has no plans to reduce its dependence on this resource. But as Morocco does not have sufficient coal production of its own, it is obliged to import it. The country's total coal-fired electricity generation capacity is expected to increase by 170% between 2013 and 2017 with the new Safi power plant and extensions to the Jorf Lasfar and Jeralda plants.

 

The next step in Morocco's plan is to develop power generation capacity from imported liquefied natural gas (LNG). Currently, Morocco sources its natural gas from the royalties that it receives for gas transported from Algeria over a 522 km stretch of its territory via the Maghreb-Europe Gas Pipeline (1,620 km). As Morocco does not wish to depend entirely on Algeria – relations between the two countries have been strained due to the ongoing dispute over Morocco's Saharan provinces, with Algeria backing the Polisario Front independence movement – the government has chosen to focus on increasing LNG imports for regasification then sale to generate electricity. The very ambitious Gas to Power project aims to build an LNG regasification terminal in Safi, several gas-fired combined cycle power plants with an installed capacity of 2,400 MW, a gas pipeline and associated facilities. Natural gas is expected to make up 30% of the energy mix by 2025.

 

Morocco is also placing its hopes in nuclear power. Abdelkader Amara, Morocco's Energy Minister, was quoted in October 2015 as saying that Morocco planned to produce electricity from nuclear energy "starting in 2030". The country currently only has one experimental 2 MW reactor used for research into nuclear medicine. On September 3, 2015, Morocco's Governing Council passed a decree establishing the Moroccan Nuclear and Radiation Safety and Security Agency.

Wind and Solar Power: Words into Action

Morocco has great potential when it comes to renewable energies. Wind profiles – the strength and direction of the wind – in the country's north and south are particularly suitable for the development of wind power, and Morocco has abundant sunshine. The government has decided to harness these "comparative advantages" to stimulate development in wind and solar power, setting a target of 2,000 MW of installed capacity for each of the two energy sources.

 

The initial results are promising. Wind power projects began in the early 2000s and Morocco now has operational facilities with a combined capacity of 280 MW. New plants under construction are expected to add another 720 MW. The country is also in the process of completing its integrated wind power program. Phase 1 is underway with the construction of the 150 MW Taza wind farm, and a call for tenders for five other farms (850 MW) has been launched (submissions of technical bids opened on October 30, 2015). The 2,000 MW target looks realistic.

 

The situation is different for solar energy. Here, apart from a 20 MW unit in the Ain Beni Mathar solar/gas plant (total capacity of 470 MW), Morocco has to start from scratch. That said, it is close to completing its first large-scale solar power plant, the 160 MW Noor 1 close to Ouarzazate, and has two other plants in the pipeline: Noor 2 (200 MW) and Noor 3 (150 MW). While Morocco's preference has for the moment gone to concentrated solar power technology, it could shift toward photovoltaics (PV) in the future. ONEE's electricity division has selected PV for a program to build three plants with a total capacity of 400 MW in regions located at the end of transmission lines. Morocco is also running the PROMASOL program to install solar water heaters.

 

While there are still a number of unknowns, notably in terms of choice of technology (solar) and project scheduling, Morocco's program is already making its first tangible achievements and setting an example for other developing economies, particularly in Africa.

Energy Efficiency, a National Priority

According to figures from the International Energy Agency (IEA), Morocco's primary energy consumption grew by 80% between 2002 and 2014, increasing the country's energy imports from 5.1% to 10% of GDP over the same period. In volume, energy imports have swelled by 59%. For the IEA, considerable progress must be made to catch up with the level of energy efficiency observed in OECD countries.

 

The Moroccan authorities are fully aware of the challenge they face. The country's new National Energy Strategy has made energy efficiency a national priority, and an Energy Efficiency Act (No. 47-09) was passed in 2011 to align the main sectors of the economy with this goal.

 

Morocco has also implemented a range of measures to improve efficiency, including incentive-based pricing systems such as "-20/-20", under which households that reduce their consumption by 20% receive a 20% rate discount. Other measures include the adoption of thermal regulations to cap energy consumption in new buildings, an audit program for existing buildings, widespread use of energy-saving light bulbs (seven million bulbs delivered to date), the development of light rail, and an import ban on vehicles older than five years.

 

While plenty remains to be done, Morocco's energy efficiency program has been praised by experts around the world. Its goal is to reduce energy use by 12% by 2020, and 15% by 2030.

Morocco's Electricity Mix in 2013

The electricity mix describes what share of various energy sources is used to generate electricity. Morocco's situation is characterized by a large proportion of coal, and fossil fuels in general, and only a small percentage of renewable energies, despite a recent surge in wind power.

Source: IEA, 2013.

The Energy Mix in 2013

The energy mix refers to how final energy consumption in a given geographical region breaks down by primary energy source. Morocco relies on oil – all of which imported –for two-thirds of energy consumption, making it vital for the country to diversify and develop renewable energies.

Source: IEA, 2013.

Compare changes in the energy mix
between 2009 and 2020

Source: IEA, 2013.

FEW NUMBERS

  • AREA
  • POPULATION
  • POPULATION GROWTH
  • UNDER-FIVE
    MORTALITY RATE
  • GDP
  • GDP PER CAPITA
  • HUMAN
    DEVELOPMENT
    INDEX (HDI)
  • co2See Carbon Dioxid EMISSIONS
 

Sources : World Bank, United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and United Nations Population Division.

FEW NUMBERS

  • AREA

  • POPULATION

  • POPULATION GROWTH

  • UNDER-FIVE MORTALITY RATE

  • GDP

  • GDP PER CAPITA

  • HUMAN DEVELOPMENT INDEX (HDI)

  • CO2 EMISSIONS

Sources : World Bank, United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and United Nations Population Division.

Energy Facilities and projects in morocco

Filters  
 

Type of energy

    •  
    •  
    •  
    •  
    •  
    •  
    •  
    •  

Project/facility status

 

Dakhla

16,6 MW

Planned

 

Laâyoune

72 MW

Planned

 

Boujdour

100 MW

Planned

 

Sebkhat Tah

500 MW

Planned

 

Foun Al ouad

500 MW

Planned

 

Noor1

160 MW

Operational

Noor 2

200 MW

Planned

Noor 3

150 MW

Planned

 

Ain Beni Mathar

400 MW

Planned

 

Boujdour

100 MW

Planned

 

Tiskrad

300 MW

Planned

 

Tarfaya

300 MW

Operational

 

Akhfenir 1

100 MW

Operational

Akhfenir 2

100 MW

Under construction

 

Amogdoul

60 MW

Operational

 

Jbel lahdid

200 MW

Planned

 

Midelt

150 MW

Planned

 

Taza

150 MW

Under construction

 

Tanger 1

140 MW

Operational

Tanger 2

140 MW

Planned

 

Khalladi

120 MW

Planned

 

Lafarge

30 MW

Operational

 

Abdelkhalek Torres

50 MW

Operational

 

El Menzel

125 MW

Planned

 

Abdelmoumen

350 MW

Planned

 

Safi

2x693 MW

Under construction

 

Jorf Lasfar

2056 MW

Operational

 

Jerada

318 MW

Operational

Jerada extension

318 MW

Under construction

 

Jorf Lasfar

 

Planned

 

Tahaddart

384 MW

Planned

 

Ain Beni Mathar

472 MW

Planned

 

Dakhla

16,6 MW

Planned

 
 

Laâyoune

72 MW

Planned

 
 

Boujdour

100 MW

Planned

 
 

Sebkhat Tah

500 MW

Planned

 
 

Foun Al ouad

500 MW

Planned

 
 

Noor1

160 MW

Under construction

Noor 2

200 MW

Planned

Noor 3

150 MW

Planned

 
 

Ain Beni Mathar

400 MW

Planned

 
 

Boujdour

100 MW

Planned

 
 

Tiskrad

300 MW

Planned

 
 

Tarfaya

300 MW

Operational

 
 

Akhfenir 1

100 MW

Operational

Akhfenir 2

100 MW

Under construction

 
 

Amogdoul

60 MW

Operational

 
 

Jbel lahdid

200 MW

Planned

 
 

Midelt

150 MW

Planned

 
 

Taza

150 MW

Under construction

 
 

Tanger 1

140 MW

Operational

Tanger 2

140 MW

Planned

 
 

Khalladi

120 MW

Planned

 
 

Lafarge

30 MW

Operational

 
 

Abdelkhalek Torres

50 MW

Operational

 
 

El Menzel

125 MW

Planned

 
 

Abdelmoumen

350 MW

Planned

 
 

Safi

2x693 MW

Under construction

 
 

Jorf Lasfar

2056 MW

Operational

 
 

Extension de Jerada

318 MW

Under construction

 
 

Jerada

318 MW

Operational

 
 

Jorf Lasfar

 

Planned

 
 

Tahaddart

384 MW

Planned

 
 

Ain Beni Mathar

472 MW

Planned

 

Energy Choices for Future Generations

Energy Demand Will Continue to Rise

Port de Tanger-Med
© AFP/FADEL SENNA

Morocco's economy grew by a steady 4.7% per year on average between 2000 and 2011 and continued to expand in the 2012-2014 period (up 3.3%) despite an unfavorable global environment. These results show the far-reaching economic and social change underway in the country, which impacts energy consumption.

 

Morocco's paved road network grew from 32,000 km in 2001 to 42,600 km in 2014 and the vehicle fleet doubled from 1.7 million to 3.4 million at the same time. Meanwhile, electricity consumption is being driven up by virtually complete rural electrification (98%), increased urbanization (60% in 2014, up from 42% in 1981), improved purchasing power, industrialization, and local economic development, with growth in the aerospace industry, the new Renault plant in Tangier and the Tanger-Med port as key examples. This fast-paced development is expected to continue in the coming years.

Unconventional OilOil that cannot be extracted using current technology or that entails additional technology or costs to produce... and Gas: The Big Unknown

Poteau electrique
© THINKSTOCK

Studies have highlighted potential oil shaleSome unconventional deposits of oil are found in microporous, impermeable source rock, known as oil shale, rather than in a standard porous... reserves in Morocco estimated at 57 billion barrels. Three deposits have been identified to date. The most promising is Tarfaya, located 890 km southwest of Rabat and mined using open pits. The other two are Timhadit in the Middle Atlas Mountains and Tanger. Several partnership agreements have been signed with foreign firms. While pilot projects are underway, no industrial-scale extraction has begun.

 

Morocco also has potential shale gasShale gas is found in deeply buried clayey sedimentary rock that is both the source rock and the reservoir for the gas... reserves in the Anti-Atlas Mountains in the country's southwest. Experts believe that the geological conditions are highly favorable, although drillingThe process of boring a hole into the ground using special equipment... is needed to accurately assess the reserves. According to the United States Energy Information Administration (EIA), Morocco has 340 billion cubic meters of technically recoverable shale gas in the Tindouf and Tadla basins. These figures, although unconfirmed, should be read against Morocco's current level of gas consumption, which stands at an average of one billion cubic meters per year. The lack of water resources in the region and current low gas prices could, however, stand in the way of shale gas development.

Morocco and the Potential Consequences of Climate Change

Secheresse Maroc
© ABDELHAK SENNA / AFP

For the moment, climate change has had no observable influence on the water cycle in Morocco (the 13% decline in rainfall in the past 30 years is not totally significant). Despite this, the Moroccan government closely monitors water resources in order to detect any new trends. And regardless of the consequences of climate change, Morocco is planning a major project to transfer excess water from the country's north down to Rabat, Casablanca and major irrigation areas further south.

 

Should current trends continue unchecked, Morocco's Ministry of Agriculture estimates that there could be a 10% drop in output from rainfed agriculture, or farming that relies solely on rainfall for water. Agriculture accounts for 10% of the country's GDP, and still employs 40% of the working population. Tourism, another strategic sector for Morocco's economy, could also be negatively impacted. The development of renewable energies and improved energy efficiency should help reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. Various programs have been launched with international organizations, such as the World Bank and the United Nations Development Program (UNDP), and with other countries, including Denmark and France.

 

In a show of its commitment, Morocco will host the COP22 climate conference in 2016, fifteen years after the COP7 in Marrakesh. Morocco strives to lead by example in the fight against climate change, both by actively participating in all international initiatives and by taking tangible steps at home.

International Issues: A Potential Future Energy Hub

Morocco stands out for its geo-strategic location. It is the only African country to have an Atlantic and a Mediterranean coastline, with the added advantage of access to the Strait of Gibraltar, through which more than 100,000 vessels pass each year. Morocco has also positioned itself as an economic and trade hub for Europe, Africa and the Middle East by signing several trade agreements and pursuing a policy of active economic diplomacy.

 

In terms of energy, Morocco sits at the crossroads of a number of regions. The 220 kV interconnection linking Tunisia, Algeria and Morocco is in synchronous operation with Europe's Union for the Co-Ordination of Transmission of Electricity (UCTE) system via a submarine cable to Spain. Operational since 1997, this link was upgraded in 2006 from 700 MW to 1,400 MW. Morocco is also a transit country for the Maghreb-Europe gas pipeline. Given these circumstances, Morocco has the potential to become a future energy hub.

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