The selection of a preferred bidder for the 850MW wind programme shows that Morocco means business with its renewable energy plans.

When the North African state launched a target for rene?wable energy to account for 42 per cent of its total power generation capacity by 2020, many felt this was too ambitious. When Morocco set this target in 2010, renewable energy in the Middle East and North Africa was more of a discussion than a sustainable market. However, Rabat has led the way for others to follow.

After awarding contracts for more than 350MW of concentrated solar power (CSP) for the Noor 2 and 3 projects in 2015, to supplement the 160MW Noor 1 plant already under construction, Rabat will top this with the 850MW wind programme. It has also started the procurement process for its first PV solar facilities.

?Morocco is in a different position from many of its Arab neighbours in that it has very little natural resources. With a need to secure its energy security and reduce a rising fuel bill, it has made commendable progress with its plans for a major renewable energy programme.?

In addition to leading the region’s race to ?implement renewable projects, it also led the way for using the private developer model to procure the schemes. While Rabat had a much greater need to tap the private finance market than other hydrocarbon-rich states in the region, the fall in oil price will mean that others will follow suit.

While other states may surpass Morocco’s renewable capacity in the future, if Rabat signs the contracts for its 850MW wind programme it will cement its position as the pioneer of renewable energy in the Arab world.

Andrew Roscoe