David S. Bloom
December 14, 2017
Morocco has made several headlines this week, not surprising given its longstanding push towards energy independence and its global leadership in renewable energy development.
First up is US EPA (Environmental Protection Agency) chief Scott Pruitt, who is in Morocco this week to discuss several energy issues with his Moroccan counterparts. The visit is officially to follow up on the Environmental Work Plan that was established between the two countries as part of the US-Morocco Free Trade Agreement. While “Moroccan officials used the opportunity to show off the large investments it has made in solar energy,” the US is reportedly looking for customers for American LNG (liquefied Natural Gas) exports, seemingly well-aware of Morocco’s plants to build a $4.6 billion LNG power facility at Jorf Lasfar.
Shifting to renewables, the African Development Bank this week pledged $324 million for “renewable energy projects in Morocco & Côte d’Ivoire.” The projects are “expected to dramatically increase power supply in the African countries and keep their economic growth on track.” For Morocco, $265 million will support the NOOR I & II solar plants, which will generate 800 megawatts and “provide electricity for the equivalent of over 2 million Moroccans, or around 6% of the population.”
Morocco’s development focus is not solely about power production, however. Morocco has been a global leader in the past several years on the issue of climate change, most notably as the host of COP22. Following up on that commitment, Morocco’s King Mohammed VI—along with Crown Prince Moulay El Hassan—attended the One Planet Summit in Paris, which gathered public and private leaders to support and accelerate the fight against climate change. In the opening session, the King was thanked for “his commitment to the climate cause via the organization of the COP22, his leadership for sustainable development in the African continent and an ambitious program for renewable energy development.” Morocco was also praised for its efforts to “take the lead as part of efforts to implement the Adaptation of African Agriculture Initiative (AAA).”