UAE Grants $100M for Solar, Wind Energy Plants In Morocco

UAE Grants $100M for Solar, Wind Energy Plants In Morocco

From Gulf News

United Arab Emirates recently gave Morocco $100 million to support its program of building solar and wind power plants. This is reported to be part of a partnership to finance development projects in Morocco worth more than $5 billion over five years.

Morocco’s drive into renewable energy is understandable and admirable. The country’s reserves and production of conventional energy resources is small and Morocco is burdened with a huge oil import bill of about $8 billion a year at today’s prices. Morocco’s oil production is only 5,000 barrels a day and has to import the rest of its requirements of about 235,000 barrels a day.

At the same time, Morocco’s natural gas production was only 2 billion cubic feet (Bcf) in 2011 but it receives around 21 Bcf a year from Algeria to compensate as transit fees for Algerian gas to Spain through the Maghreb Europe Gas Pipeline. Morocco also imports 4.6 million tonnes of coal to fire some of its power stations.

With such modest fossil fuel resources and the burgeoning energy requirements of its 35 million people, Morocco decided to put greater effort into tapping its abundant solar and wind energy resources which are said to be among the best in Africa. Solar-based power generation projects are well under way and the plan is to reach 2,000MW in 2020. Five sites have been identified which would tap two technologies, Concentrated Solar Power (CSP) and Photovoltaic.

Small plants of less than 2MW are allowed under the Renewable Energy Law and the private sector may make a push in remote areas. At the same time, there is a programme to promote solar water heaters and to have installed panels of 1.7 million square meters in 2020. This would correspond to 1,190 GWh in energy terms.

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