Morocco :Solar Energy Project

Doha – Energy minister Amina Benkhadra called, here Sunday, on Arab companies to contribute to Morocco’s large-scale solar energy project, launched in November 2009.

Speaking at the opening of the 9th Arab Energy Conference, the minister showcased Morocco’s energy strategy, particularly the Kingdom’s $9 billion mega solar project. Based on public-private partnership, the project includes five stations with a total capacity of 2,000 mega-watts and will cover by 2020 some 10% of Morocco’s electricity demand, representing with other renewable energy sources 42% of the energy capacity.

“I seize this opportunity to call all concerned Arab institutions to contribute to this project, which could serve as a unique model in the field of solar energy in the Arab region, which boasts huge potential in this field,” Benkhadra said.

Benkhadra underlined that the Moroccan Agency for Solar Energy, created to oversee the production of solar electricity, launched in March an international call for expressions of interest to carry out the first project near the southern city of Ouarzazate, with a 500 MW power by 2015.

“This project can serve as a prototype for developing green electricity from solar energy in the Arab world, which can enable the region meet its growing demand for electricity,” she said.

Benkhadra also said that Morocco’s integration into the global and regional economy, particularly the Arab and Euro-Mediterranean regions, is a fundamental part of the Kingdom’s development strategy in general, and particularly in energy.

In this respect, she commended the fruitful cooperation between Morocco and the Arab countries in the field of energy, notably with the UAE, Algeria and Libya.

Benkhadra also recalled that Morocco imported nearly 80% of its oil needs from Saudi Arabia and Iraq and some 50% of its liquefied gas needs from Algeria in 2009.

Speaking about other projects planned as part of Morocco’s energy strategy in the mid-term, the Moroccan official said that the North African country will build by 2020 new large power plants using mainly coal as well as renewable energy to contribute to national electricity production.

For the long-term, Benkhadra stressed that all options are open, including the use of nuclear power, exploitation of oil shale, and the use of organic waste and bio-fuel.

The three-day event is an opportunity for Arab Energy ministers to tackle several issues related to the inter-Arab cooperation in the field of energy.



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