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Tuesday, July 16, 2024

Morocco Seeks to Expand International Cooperation on Renewable Energy

The Minister of Energy Transition and Sustainable Development Leila Benali, announced  that Morocco aims to further strengthen international cooperation in renewable energy.

Benali said that the kingdom seeks to establish more cooperation with countries and international bodies to attract foreign investments and transfer technology, particularly in the energy field.

The minister made her remarks on Thursday at the 26th Extraordinary Session of the Forum of Legislative Presidents of Central America and the Caribbean Basin(FOPREL), held between May 19 to 21 in Rabat.

Benali highlighted that so far, 52 renewable energy projects have been implemented and are currently in operation, with a total capacity amounting to more than 4 gigawatts. Of this capacity, more than half was added between 2009 and 2021 with a budget of about MAD 53.1 billion ($ 5.4 billion).

Meanwhile, 59 projects are still under development, with a total capacity of more than 4.5 gigawatts and an investment of about MAD 52 billion ($5.5 billion).

Morocco’s geographical location allows it to play an “active role” in integrating international energy markets, she stressed. The minister emphasized that the kingdom is joining forces to develop a third power line project with Spain and the first electricity interconnection project with Portugal.

Morocco is also working on implementing a joint declaration on sustainable electricity exchange, which aims to develop a roadmap for sustainable electricity exchange between Morocco and Europe, Benali added.

With the country actively building partnerships to strengthen its presence as a hub for south-south cooperation, it is also giving equal importance to reinforcing cooperation with African countries mainly in planning, electricity supply, rural electrification, and energies.

The Moroccan minister noted that the country is now focused on accelerating the establishment of the Coalition for Access to Sustainable Energy, an initiative created jointly by Morocco and Ethiopia during the UN Climate Action Summit, held in New York in 2019.

The minister announced the completion of a research and development platform for green energy as well as the establishment of a platform for green buildings and smart grids. Meanwhile other initiatives on hydrogen and biomass energy recovery are simultaneously being developed.

To accelerate the country’s energy transition, Benali noted that the government is working on a set of initiatives, including an integrated program to equip all desalination plants with renewable energy production units to ensure energy saving.

Regarding wind projects, Morocco seeks to power a seawater desalination plant in the southern city of Dakhla with the aim of irrigating about 5,000 hectares of agricultural land.

Another project, to build a desalination plant in the Casablanca-Settat region, is under development. This plant is projected to produce 200 million cubic meters yearly by 2026 and an additional 100 million cubic meters per year by 2030.

The minister further discussed legislative reforms to encourage private investment in renewable energy, citing in this regard the draft law on renewable energies, as well as bill 82.21 on self-generation of electricity.

The bill is based on several fundamental principles, including “the right for any individual or legal entity, public or private, to benefit from the status of self-producer, with some exceptions under the principle of neutrality.

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