Since the launch of the new national energy strategy in 2009, Morocco has taken great strides to reach its ambitious targets. The main goals of the kingdom’s plan are: securing its energy supply by reducing dependence on energy imports, controlling the future costs of energy services and preserving the environment by mitigating greenhouse gas emissions.
Morocco lacks any proven fossil fuel deposit but has plenty of renewable energy resources, chiefly solar, wind and hydropower. Its solar irradiation varies from 3.86 to 7.85 kWh/m², and its annual average wind speed varies between 7,5 and 11 m/s at 40 meters above sea level. In addition, the kingdom has 140 dams including 26 hydropower stations. With those assets and the strategic geographical location, Morocco aims to achieve energy self-sufficiency and become an energy exporter to Europe and the rest of Africa.
According to the Royal Guidelines, the government initially set the goal of reaching 42% of the renewable energies in the energy mix in 2020. This target was extended to 52% in 2030, as announced by King Mohammed VI at COP 21 in Paris.
A legislative framework has been established in order to implement the national strategy. It consists in a set of laws for the liberalization of the electricity market, the establishment of new institutions, and the regulation of power production from renewable sources, in addition of measures relating to energy efficiency. Below is a summary of the main laws promulgated as part of the national energy strategy :
Law 16-08 on self-generation was voted in 2008 to authorize for the first time any natural or legal person to produce electricity for his own needs. This act made self-production subject to authorization and conditions. It raised the ceiling for self-generation by industrial sites from 10 MW to 50 MW.
Law 13-09 promulgated in 2010 provides the mean legal framework of renewable energy projects in Morocco. It excluded hydraulic energy above 12 MW from its scope. This law allows any individual or legal entity to produce electricity from renewable resources. The electricity generated can either be used to meet the producer’s own power requirements or fed into the medium- or high-voltage grid and sold to users.
In 2015, Law 58-15, which has amended and supplemented law 13-09, introduced a net metering scheme for solar and wind power plants. It has increased the hydropower threshold from 12 to 30 MW, and has allowed private investors to sell the excess electricity production from renewables to the national network of High Voltage (HV), Very High Voltage (VHV) and Low Voltage (LV), but no more than 20% of their annual production. Secondary legislation has to be promulgated to precise the terms and conditions of the net metering scheme and the opening of the low-voltage grid to renewable power installations.
Other laws were adopted to create new institutions involved in the national energy strategy, chiefly the Moroccan Agency for Solar Energy (MASEN) created by law 57-09. The latter was promulgated and supplemented by law 37-16 to expand the prerogative of MASEN which became the Moroccan Agency for Sustainable Energy carrying the Renewable Energy Sector in Morocco. Also, law 48-15 established the national regulation entity named the “Autorité Nationale de Régulation de l’Électricité (ANRE)”.
The Moroccan Government and Parliament have prepared a framework of laws and institutions to achieve energy transition in accordance with the National Energy Strategy under the Royal directives. However, the market liberalization of renewables is still awaiting the completion of the legal reform of the energy sector to enable investors and entrepreneurs to gain access to medium and low voltage network.
Lead image: Wind farm in Moroco. Photo by sqala from Biarritz, France – Eolienne cap sim, CC BY-SA 2.0.