Morocco has recently been achieving significant results in renewable energy projects; It has the largest concentrated solar energy farm in the world and one of the largest wind farms.

In the Moroccan tourist city of Ouarzazate, which is Morocco’s gateway to the Sahara Desert, more than half a million mirrors are erected with giant circles, and these mirrors rotate every few minutes to better direct the sun’s rays towards the tubes filled with synthetic oil, which makes it very hot, turning into steam.

This steam is used by the turbine to produce enough power for 1.3 million people, and the Noor Ouarzazate complex, the largest concentrated solar power farm in the world.

Also in a coastal town in southeastern Morocco, there is another massive renewable energy project, the Tarfaya wind farm with 131 turbines, it is one of the largest wind farms of its kind in Africa.

“We benefit from sunshine and wind levels that are among the highest of any country in the world,” said Ghalia Mokhtari, a lawyer and energy specialist at the Moroccan Institute for Strategic Intelligence, a Rabat-based think tank.

She added that the country’s leaders are trying to harness these renewable resources to make Morocco a leading country in the field of environmental conservation in Africa.

The goal is to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, which destroy the climate, by 18.3% by 2030.

The expansion of solar and wind power in the country has been long in the making, dating back to the 2009 Energy Plan.

The target was to reach 42% of installed renewable energy capacity by 2020.

Mokhtari added, “King Mohammed VI wanted to turn Morocco into a green energy hub due to climate change”.

Like most African countries, Morocco’s carbon emissions are negligible, compared to industrialized nations and major historical polluters, but Morocco is feeling the dire consequences of the climate crisis, from soaring temperatures and droughts to coastal flooding, all of which exacerbate food insecurity and water scarcity.

North Africa is one of the most vulnerable regions in the world, with summer temperatures expected to rise by 4°C (7.2°F) by 2100.

But Mokhtari said the country’s leadership also wanted to expand renewables “because we were very dependent on energy imports from Algeria and Spain”.

Despite the high ambitions and hopes that accompany the great progress in the field of renewable energy, the country still imports 90% of its energy and relies mainly on fossil fuels.

In an effort to stop importing foreign hydrocarbons, Morocco opened up the renewable energy market to private competition and phased out gasoline and diesel subsidies when oil prices were low in 2014 and 2015.

Butane gas, which is commonly used in households and agriculture, still receives a lot of government subsidies.

Although the 2009 Energy Strategy proved overly ambitious; Morocco missed its 2020 target for renewable energy capacity by just 5%, but the government appears to be on track to meet the 2030 target of 52%, according to a recent report by consultancy firm Ernst & Young (EY).

According to the report, Morocco is significantly overweight in the renewable energy market, given the size of its small economy, and with the opening of two new solar power plants and a wind farm last year, renewable energy supply has increased by about 10%.

Besides the electricity sector, Morocco has its eyes set on decarbonizing other areas such as transport and agriculture.

The country shows huge potential in producing green hydrogen, which is described as an alternative fuel that will replace oil and diesel in heavy industries and aviation, according to the report.

However, producing green hydrogen requires huge amounts of clean energy, which is still in severe short supply in the country.

Despite its gains, according to the Heinrich Böll Foundation, a German environmental think tank.

The Foundation added that, despite this, the growing international demand for alternative fuels may enhance Morocco’s expansion in renewable energy sources.

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