Morocco: Home to the World’s Largest Concentrated Solar Plant by 2020

Therese El Gemayel, 20 Sep 2018

Morocco relies heavily on the import of energy products, reaching 19.3 Mtoe[1] in 2015, to address its energy needs. In 2015, most of the total primary energy supply originated from imports of the various energy products. The country dependence on renewable energy amounts to 8.9 percent of total energy demand. Renewable energy sources in Morocco include biofuels and waste (78%), geothermal, solar and wind (12%) and hydropower (9%) (International Energy Agency). Morocco has been generating electricity from hydropower since 1929 and from wind energy since 2000.


In 2009, Morocco has set the National Energy Strategy focusing on increasing the share of electricity generation from renewable energies to 42 percent by 2020. Further, during the COP22 in 2016 in Morocco, King Mohammed VI pledged to increase the share to 52 percent in 2030, of which equal shares are to be attributed to solar, wind and hydropower.


In this regard, Morocco has fully phased out energy subsidies in 2015 and launched the NOOR project that aims to generate 2000 MW of electricity from solar power, using concentrated solar power and photovoltaic techniques (Ministry of Energy, Mines, and Sustainable Development). The project is part of Morocco’s Solar Integrated Projects adopted in 2009 and will be implemented over a period of five years. It is expected to be fully operational and reach full capacity by 2020, making Morocco home to the world’s largest concentrated solar plant. Generating electricity through solar energy will help save 1 Mtoe from oil products and 3.7 million tons of CO2 equivalent yearly (World Future Council, 2015).


Morocco’s Integrated Wind Energy Programme, launched in 2010, aims to increase wind electricity production to 2000 MW by 2020, which will provide 6,600 GWh of annual electricity production. Increasing wind energy production will help the country reduce its yearly energy imports by 1.5 Mtoe and CO2 emissions by 5.6 million tons of CO2 equivalent (Ministry of Energy, Mines, and Sustainable Development).


Expanding the already developed hydropower sector is also part of this strategy. It targets building 2 large hydropower facilities and micro-sized plants to achieve the 2000 MW capacity by 2020.


By the end of 2020, Morocco would shift from an energy import-dependent country to a sustainable and secure energy country with a diversified energy mix, with a probable potential of exporting electricity to Algeria and Europe.






[1] Million tonnes of oil equivalent


Therese El Gemayel is an environment, energy and statistics consultant. She has worked on development projects in the Western Asia region targeting the enhancement of statistical capacities of government officials in the data collection, validation, analysis and reporting, and the development of evidence-based policies. 


The views expressed here are solely those of the author in his/her private capacity and do not in any way represent the views of neither the Arab Development Portal nor the United Nations Development Programme. 

Therese El Gemayel Therese El Gemayel

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