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    IEA: Renewables Provide Development Opportunities for Morocco, Africa

    While Morocco works on developing low-hydrogen and renewables projects, the country does not have a net-zero target.

    21 Jun 2022

    Rabat - Despite the recent energy crisis that hit Africa and the globe, renewables provide opportunities for regional development and the creation of new industrial opportunities in green hydrogen, solar energy, and critical minerals, said the International Energy Agency (IEA) in its latest Africa Energy Outlook.

    Issued on June 20, the report notes that Morocco has an updated nationally determined contribution (NDC) to the Paris Agreement that provides comprehensive conditional and unconditional terms covering energy, waste, Agriculture, Forestry, and Other Land Use (AFOLU), and Industrial Processes and Product Use (IPPU).

    Morocco has notably worked on increasing its renewables share in electricity and pledged to not build any new coal-fired power plants to meet its green energy commitments, according to the IEA report.

    The share of solar PV and wind, for instance, exceeds 10% in Morocco, a higher rate than in China, India, and the United States.

    Morocco has also adopted the Industrial Recovery Plan for 2021-2023 to decarbonize all industrial sectors through the use of locally-produced renewable energy resources.

    Low-hydrogen projects were implemented in the Kingdom in line with the plan’s goals, including OCP’s green fertilizer plant which is currently under construction and is expected to produce 260 tonnes of hydrogen per year.

    Two additional Moroccan low-hydrogen projects, currently under feasibility studies, are set to be completed by 2025 and 2026 including Moroccan Energy for Sustainable Energy Masen’s green hydrogen project and HEVO Ammonia Morocco project by Irish Fusion Fuel Green company that is set to produce 31kt of hydrogen per year.

    Still, the report stresses that Morocco has not yet made any net-zero emissions pledges, unlike its neighbor Mauritania which seeks to reach carbon neutrality by 2050. Eleven other African countries have made similar pledges with different timetables: 2030 for Cote d’Ivoire, 2050 for South Africa, and 2060 for Nigeria.

    Read Also: Report: Morocco Leads Africa in Renewable Energy Sector

    Hit by economic crises caused by the pandemic and exacerbated by the war in Ukraine, Morocco’s credit rating was downgraded from investment to junk grade. This has left only two African countries in the investment category: Botswana and Mauritius.

    According to the report, the energy crisis further called for an increase in subsidies for energy suppliers which was the case in Morocco. Taxi owners also benefited from a special support program.

    However, the energy crisis has pushed for a “new global energy economy that is emerging offers a more hopeful future for Africa, with huge potential for solar and other renewables to power its development,” said Fatih Birol, the IEA’s Executive Director.

    With Africa being home to 60% of the world’s best solar - cheap - resources, there is an “immediate and absolute” need to provide “modern and affordable energy to all Africans” which can be attainable by the end of the decade at an annual investment cost of $25 billion, “the same amount needed to build just one new LNG terminal a year,” Birol added.

    These investments are set to increase the continent’s resilience in face of mainly energy poverty and food insecurity.

    Despite Africa contributing less than 3% of the world’s energy-related CO 2 emissions, the continent is one the most affected regions by climate change and related global crises. For instance, during the pandemic, 25 million Africans lost their access to electricity.

    On the bright side, the continent’s resources can allow it to provide universal and accessible energy to all Africans. But such a feat would take genuine political will from African governments, the IEA report suggested.

    The more than 5 trillion cubic meters of African untapped natural gas reserves can, according to IEA, revitalize domestic fertilizer, steel, cement, and water desalination industries.

    If done properly, the IEA argued, these gas exploitation projects should be able to produce an additional 90 billion cubic meters, which is forecasted to increase the continent’s share in global emissions to a “mere 3.5%.”

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