Morocco was one of the first countries in the Middle East to embrace renewable energy. Having already capitalised on the country’s hydropower potential, Rabat turned its attention to wind power.
The country inaugurated its largest wind farm to date in June 2010 at Tangier. The project has a capacity of 140MW and represents half of Morocco’s total installed wind power capacity. It also has 720MW of wind capacity under development.
The government has set itself an ambitious target of 42 per cent of its total power generation to derive from renewable energy. Solar, wind and hydropower are to account for 14 per cent each.
If it is to meet this target, Morocco will need to press ahead with its planned renewable energy projects and minimise delays.
The government is making good progress on what will be the largest solar project in the Middle East and North Africa region. The first phase of the Ouarzazate project is set to be followed by several more to create a 500MW complex by 2015. Four other sites have also been identified for solar projects.
The effectiveness and speed of delivery will need to be improved if Rabat is to continue to attract international developers and financiers.
Administrative hurdles and poor planning at this stage has the potential to derail Morocco’s ambitious renewable energy plans and result in failing to achieve its targets.