While the power plant covers more than 40% of Morocco’s electricity needs, it constitutes a major source of air pollution.
Rabat – Morocco’s National Office for Electricity and Drinking Water has extended its Power Purchase Agreement for the Jorf Lasfar power station, about 120 kilometers southwest of Casablanca. The contract will now be valid for a further 17 years, from 2027 to 2044.
Abu Dhabi-owned company, TAQA Morocco, signed the agreement with the Moroccan institution on January 24, reported the Emirati news agency WAM.
The Jorf Lasfar thermal power plant totals an overall capacity of 2,056 megawatts (MW), helping to meet more than 40% of Morocco’s national electricity needs.
The contract extension will allow TAQA Morocco to further support the country’s economy through a reliable and secure supply of electricity.
“We are proud to be a reliable and strategic partner to the Moroccan government. Our investment in Morocco further underscores our commitment to investing in and deploying best-in-class solutions across our business,” said the chairman of Abu Dhabi’s national energy company TAQA, Saeed Mubarak Al Hajeri.
The Jorf Lasfar power station imports more than 5.4 million tons of coal per year, and has a coal park with a storage capacity of one million tons. The plant plays an important role in dealing with Morocco’s increasing energy demands.
In 2017, Morocco’s overall consumption of primary energy amounted to 20.8 million tons, including oil (55.9%) and coal (25.5%). The country remains mostly dependent on imports.
The plant is located in close proximity to the Jorf Lasfar Port. Around 85% of Moroccan coal imports pass through the port.
Jorf Lasfar is also the site of several OCP Group plants. OCP Group is a mostly state-owned phosphate company.
While the industrial zone of Jorf Lasfar is important for Morocco’s economy, it represents several threats for public health and ecology.
In August 2019, Greenpeace, an international non-governmental organization with environmental aims, ranked Morocco 25th in the list of countries with the most Sulfur Dioxide (SO2) emissions in 2018.
The industrial zone of Jorf Lasfar ranked first nationally among the highest emitters of SO2, followed by the industrial zones of Mohammedia and Settat.
The results of the report, measured by NASA’s Ozone Monitoring Instrument (OMI) show that Morocco emitted 216 kilotonnes (kt) of SO2 in 2018.
Morocco also ranked sixth in SO2 emission in the MENA region, behind Saudia Arabia, UAE, Qatar, Kuwait, and Iraq.
The main source of SO2 emissions is the burning of fossil fuels in power plants and other industrial facilities. Exposure to the gas can cause irritations in the nose, throat, and the airways, causing coughs, wheezes, shortness of breath, and a tight feeling around the chest.
In June 2019, Morocco’s former Secretary of State for Sustainable Development, Nezha El Ouafi, said that the economic cost of air pollution in Morocco is estimated at 1.62% of the country’s GDP.
In an effort to curb pollution and move towards an era of sustainability, Morocco has launched several projects.
Earlier this month, the Moroccan Agency for Renewable Energy (MASEN) revealed that Morocco’s renewable energy capacity reached 3,685 MW by the end of 2019.
The number brings Morocco closer to its goal of 6,000 MW capacity by 2020.
Morocco aims to make 42% of its energy production renewable in 2020 and increase to 52% by 2030.