July 12, 2011
July 12, 2011
Morocco has scorching solar ambitions, but fiscal limitations. King Mohamed VI made developing the country’s renewable energy resources a priority in 2008, when oil prices surged, and established a goal for solar energy to generate 42% of the country’s electricity needs by 2020. Achieving these goals would be impossible without cooperating with Europe – particularly France and Spain. Paris takes another step towards demonstrating its commitment to this inevitable marriage.
Morocco has already shown a desire to cooperate with Desertec, the most widely known large scale solar initiative in the Middle East North Africa (MENA) region.
But without solid international investments, Morocco would be hard pressed to activate its plan to tap into its solar potential of 2 600 kWh/m²/year. Meanwhile, France understands that when the fossil fuels burn out, it will need the desert sun to keep its citizens energized.
To the mutual benefit of both countries, Industry and Energy Minister Eric Besson announced that Paris will contribute $146 Million towards Morocco’s solar energy plan. He made this announcement on a recent visit to the country’s capital, Rabat, where he met his Moroccan counterpart Amina Benkhadra.
The French Development Agency will disburse the funds to support what Besson describes as “the centerpiece of the Mediterranean solar plan.” By the end of the year, the two countries are expected to hammer out a final agreement that will secure France’s long-term clean energy purchase from Morocco.
Meanwhile, Spain, Morocco and France are also planning a summit to work out their future interconnection plans.
Picture credit: utilities-me.com