The year 2019 marked an important milestone in Morocco’s energy strategy, with the country becoming a net exporter of electricity.
Rabat – Morocco is committed to sharing its expertise with African countries in the field of electricity, said the Director-General of Morocco’s National Office for Electricity and Drinking Water (ONEE), Abderrahim El Hafidi.
The ONEE plays an active role in Morocco’s South-South cooperation policy, he affirmed.
El Hafidi made the statement during a meeting with a delegation led by Botswana’s Minister of Energy, on Tuesday, March 3.
The meeting was part of the World Bank’s program to support the governments of Southern Africa in the promotion of renewable energies.
The national electricity office will continue providing support for Botswana and other countries from southern Africa, assured El Hafidi.
During the meeting, the Moroccan official presented the Kingdom’s energy strategy and the projects carried out in the electricity sector.
El Hafidi also showcased Morocco’s model of multilateral cooperation between the ONEE, the Ministry of Energy, and the Moroccan Agency for Sustainable Energy (MASEN) for the development and integration of renewable energies in the national electricity grid.
The presentations also commented on Morocco’s program to generalize access to electricity in rural areas.
Meanwhile, the Botswanan Minister of Energy Sadique Kebonang showcased his country’s electricity model, which is mainly based on fossil energy.
Botswana would like to develop renewable energy projects, especially solar energy, and integrate them into the electricity grid, revealed the ministry.
Morocco is known as a regional and continental leader in the field of electricity and renewable energies.
In 2019, Morocco became a net electricity exporter for the first time ever, with its electricity imports decreasing by 85.9% and its exports increasing by an unprecedented rate of 315.7%.
Morocco’s successful journey to becoming a net exporter of electricity came as a result of two main factors.
First, the inauguration of several power generation projects, notably the Safi thermal power plant, increased Morocco’s production capacity.
The Safi thermal power plant, inaugurated in December 2018, has a production capacity of 1,386 megawatts (MW) and is able to cover 25% of the national electricity demand.
The second factor is the reduction of Morocco’s electricity consumption, thanks to the daylight saving time change. In October 2018, the Moroccan government decided to adopt the summer time permanently and move to the GMT+1 time zone.
A study between October 2018 and March 2019 revealed that the change reduced the national electricity consumption by 0.3%, saving around 37.6 Gigawatt hours.
The surplus in Morocco’s electricity production allowed the country to reach its national electricity demand and boost its exports, to Spain especially.
Morocco and Spain have an interconnection with a capacity of 1,400 (MW). The two countries are planning to open a new 700 MW connection by 2026.