Self-Reliance and Green Jobs
The potential for local job creation and energy self-reliance are particularly high for small-scale, distributed solar energy, so ADEREE’s focusing on starting solar PV housing programs.
“We’re initially focusing not only on big projects, but also smaller ones. We started using solar PV some years ago, starting with solar houses in rural areas, then because of technological advances and price reductions, we’re now looking at grid connected projects,” Mouline commented.
“Small projects create a lot of jobs. Anyone with up to 20-kW solar power system can do whatever he or she wants. Up from that, you have to declare it to the Ministry of Energy, a matter of informing the government so they can gather data. For 2MW solar power systems and up, you need authorization and you will need a grid connection,” he explained.
Also, he added, “we are now monitoring the markets for and use of solar-powered pumps,” particularly associated with agriculture, but also with telecoms. “We’re trying to implement a new program for solar pumping,” given the rapidly narrowing gap in cost between grid and solar power.
Ongoing development of its wind energy resources and capacity continues to be a focal point for Morocco’s energy agencies as well. Mouline pointed out that the government is now helping launch a new national wind energy program worth more than $1 billion that aims to see the construction and launch of an 850-MW wind power equipment factory that will manufacture turbine blades, nacelles, and spare parts. Sixteen bid proposals have been received, with the national utility having begun the process of evaluating them.
The Possibility of Renewable Energy Exports to Europe
Also vital to the renewable energy / energy efficiency strategy’s success and job creation, Morocco is investing in building out a modern electricity grid and distribution lines. These are key to the government’s plans to export green energy to Europe.
“We’re thinking to develop all power into the grid, private or public, but in future to have some small power for own production,” Mouline noted. “We’re studying the use of low-tension-line input into grid, for such things as connection home solar PV systems to the grid.”
“We have the 400kV, then the 225 kV, the 150kV, and the 60kV high-voltage grid for transport and the MidTension and Low tension grid for Distribution, which will be used in cities.” Industrial zones and centers, along with utility-scale solar and wind power farms have high-tension grid connections.
In addition, ADEREE and the Moroccan government are allowing the use of an HVDC (High-Voltage Direct Current) transmission grid that will enable Morocco to export renewable electricity from utility-scale solar and wind power plants to Europe. The focus now is on expanding and modernizing its electrical grid. Morocco already has a 1.4GW-capacity grid line into Europe via Spain in place, Mouline pointed out, adding that Morocco is working out the legal details with its European counterparts.
“We have a grid capacity connection of 1.4 GW today, and we’re going to add 700 MW to reach 2.1 GW,” Mouline said. “Instead of importing energy, because of all this green energy potential that will help European countries to reach their CO2 emission objectives, we’ll start exporting green energy to Europe.”