Morocco is fast becoming a world leader in renewable energy:
American attention in the Middle East is usually directed by our press to the oil and gas giants of the Gulf. Saudi Arabia, Iran and Iraq all loom large in our collective consciousness, even though they are not typical of the region.
Important countries such as Morocco, Egypt and Turkey mostly lack these hydrocarbon resources and so are barely mentioned in American television news programs. Morocco in particular gets less coverage than the moons of Jupiter. But in ways that are escaping most observers, its aggressive green energy plans are likely much more representative of the future of the Arab world than are those of the petrostates. Moreover, this development would be a good thing, putting energy wars off the agenda and shifting wealth and cultural power from the archconservative Gulf to more cosmopolitan Arab centers.
The Moroccan government is the one in the Arab world most serious about renewable energy. It imports 95 percent of its fuel, a huge annual outlay for a relatively poor country (with a population of 33 million, and nominal gross domestic product of $103 billion). Worse, that government heavily subsidizes fuel costs for citizens, costing additional billions each year.
The beauty of renewables for a country with a moral economy like Morocco’s is that the fuel is free and so requires no subsidies. The costs would be for equipment, installation and grid infrastructure. No wonder the Moroccan government has set a goal of getting 42 percent of its electricity from renewable sources by 2020, only five years from now…[Full Story]