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Morocco accelerates the development of renewable energy

Morocco's Minister of Energy Transformation and Sustainable Development Leila Bernal recently stated in the Moroccan Parliament that there are currently 61 renewable energy projects under construction in Morocco, involving an amount of US$550 million. The country is on track to meet its target of 42 percent renewable energy generation this year and increase that to 64 percent by 2030.

Morocco is rich in solar and wind energy resources. According to statistics, Morocco has about 3,000 hours of sunshine throughout the year, ranking among the top in the world. To achieve energy independence and cope with the impact of climate change, Morocco issued the National Energy Strategy in 2009, proposing that by 2020 the installed capacity of renewable energy should account for 42% of the country's total installed capacity of power generation. One proportion will reach 52% by 2030.

To attract and support all parties to increase investment in renewable energy, Morocco has gradually eliminated subsidies for gasoline and fuel oil and established the Moroccan Sustainable Development Agency to provide one-stop services for relevant developers, including licensing, land purchase, and financing. The Moroccan Agency for Sustainable Development is also responsible for organizing bids for designated areas and installed capacity, signing power purchase agreements with independent power producers, and selling electricity to the national grid operator. Between 2012 and 2020, installed wind and solar capacity in Morocco grew from 0.3 GW to 2.1 GW.

As a flagship project for the development of renewable energy in Morocco, the Noor Solar Power Park in central Morocco has been completed. The park covers an area of more than 2,000 hectares and has an installed generating capacity of 582 megawatts. The project is divided into four phases. The first phase of the project was put into operation in 2016, the second and third phases of the solar thermal project were put into operation for power generation in 2018, and the fourth phase of the photovoltaic project was put into operation for power generation in 2019.

Morocco faces the European continent across the sea, and the rapid development of Morocco in the field of renewable energy has attracted the attention of all parties. The European Union launched the "European Green Agreement" in 2019, proposing to be the first to achieve "carbon neutrality" globally by 2050. However, since the Ukraine crisis, multiple rounds of sanctions from the US and Europe have backlashed Europe into an energy crisis. On the one hand, European countries have introduced measures to save energy, and on the other hand, they hope to find alternative energy sources in the Middle East, Africa, and other regions. In this context, some European countries have stepped up cooperation with Morocco and other North African countries.

In October last year, the EU and Morocco signed a memorandum of understanding to establish a "green energy partnership". According to this memorandum of understanding, the two parties will strengthen cooperation in energy and climate change with the participation of the private sector, and promote the low-carbon transformation of the industry through investment in green technology, renewable energy production, sustainable transportation, and clean production. In March this year, European Commissioner Olivier Valkhery visited Morocco and announced that the EU would provide Morocco with an additional 620 million euros in funds to support Morocco in accelerating the development of green energy and strengthening infrastructure construction.

Ernst & Young, an international accounting firm, published a report last year that Morocco will maintain its leading position in Africa's green revolution thanks to its abundant renewable energy resources and strong government support.

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