In a statement to Al-Hayat, Moroccan sources declared that “electricity-generating solar and wind energy projects, implemented by Morocco in several regions in the east and south of the country, with investments worth approximately 90 billion dirhams [$11 billion], will allow Rabat to turn from an importer into an exporter of alternative energy by 2020, through building five solar energy stations.”
Oil and oil-derivatives importation cost Rabat $13 billion in 2013. Energy subsidies currently cost around 35 billion dirhams in the local market, compared to 54 billion in 2012. This negatively affects the trade balance, the overall financial balance and the budget deficit, estimated at 6% of the gross domestic product.
Sources reported that nine gigawatts of new energy would be produced, a 20% increase over current production, thus supplying around 42% of thermal electricity.
“We will have an electricity and energy surplus that can be sold to other close countries, particularly in Europe and Africa. This is currently happening in the energy grid between Algeria and Spain,” the sources added.
Energy exports will contribute to improving the trade balance and increasing Rabat’s hard currency resources, thus boosting development. Sources believe that scientific research in the field of future energies constitutes one of the options within the project, just like modern industries in the field of automotives, airplanes and smartphones, in which Morocco is a regional pioneer.
Saudi Power Energy International Group is building the first solar energy station in Morocco at a cost of over $900 million. The station will become operational in 2015. Other proposals are underway to build a second station with an overall production of 500 million megawatts in the city suburbs. Upon project completion, Morocco will become the Arab and Middle Eastern country that uses clean energies the most at the beginning of the next decade.
The Moroccan sources considered Rabat capable of ensuring the funding to build all wind and solar energy units because they are part of a strategic high-priority plan. Algeria is pressuring some parties that are supporting the Moroccan project about the funding of some energy stations in the desert. Sources related the cause to “regional political conflicts.”