Morocco – Key Country for the Energy Revolution? Renewable energy and hydrogen in Morocco
Its geographical location in close proximity to Europe, its high level of direct sunshine and the great potential for wind energy on land and at sea are factors that make Morocco an attractive location for renewable energy. In addition, Morocco has a stable political framework, ambitious energy policy goals have been set and an increasing number of well-trained specialists are available.
Power from the desert
Morocco already played a key role in the initial plans for the Desertec project, which aimed to bring green electricity from the sun-drenched deserts of the MENA region to Europe. After the failure of the first neo-colonialist attempt and another attempt on a level playing field, the current iteration of the project is called Desertec 3.0. This time, hydrogen is to be produced from green electricity in North Africa and Morocco in particular, and exported to Europe. The Desertec 3.0 scenario requires enormous power capacities for renewable sources in North Africa, which are still a long way off. In addition, the individual European states have announced the establishment of their own large-scale hydrogen generation facilities and face far fewer transport challenges in this regard.
Leading role in renewable energy
Projects such as the vast solar energy complex in Ouarzazate, which consists of three solar thermal power plants with a total capacity of 580 MW, or the Moroccan solar plan “Noor”, which is to provide heat storage for an all-day renewable energy supply, demonstrate Morocco’s determination to assume a leading role in the field of renewable energy in Africa. After South Africa (2,085 MW) and Egypt (1,452 MW), Morocco has the third-largest installed wind power capacity in Africa at 1,200 MW as of 2019. In order to achieve Morocco’s goal of a green electricity share of over 50 percent by 2030, solar installations with capacities of 4,560 MW and wind farms with 4,200 MW are to be installed in the coming decade. With the first African production facility for rotor blades near the port city of Tangier in northern Morocco, wind turbine manufacturer Siemens Gamesa is already well-positioned to cater to the wind energy markets in Africa, the Mediterranean region and the Middle East.
Morocco and Germany
The fact that renewable energy and hydrogen production not only reduce Morocco's dependence on oil and gas imports from abroad, but also present a great opportunity for the country, was recognised early on by the Moroccan royal family and the Moroccan Energy Minister Aziz Rabbah. The German Federal Government has also identified Morocco as an important and reliable partner. For example, the Ambassador of the Kingdom of Morocco in Germany, Zohour Alaoui, was invited to the publication of the National Hydrogen Strategy in Berlin. There, together with the Federal Minister for Economic Cooperation and Development, Gerd Müller, she signed a declaration of intent for a German-Moroccan hydrogen initiative to support the development and promotion of the Power-to-X sector in Morocco. “Together with Morocco, we are now developing the first industrial plant for ‘green hydrogen’ in Africa,” said Gerd Müller. It is therefore quite possible for Morocco to establish itself as a key country for the energy transition.
The Renewable Energy Hamburg Cluster monitors developments in Morocco and would be glad to make itself available for discussions with its members and all other interested parties.