Country Snapshot: Morocco

Publication October 2015


Morocco submitted its INDC to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) on 5 June 2015. Morocco’s INDC stated that it aims to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by 13 per cent compared to business as usual (BAU) emissions projections by 2030.

In addition to the unconditional target of 13 per cent, Morocco’s INDC states that an additional reduction of 19 per cent is achievable under certain conditions, which would bring the total GHG to 32 per cent below the BAU emissions levels by 2030. Meeting this conditional target requires an overall investment estimated at USD 45 billion between 2015 and 2030, of which USD 35 billion is conditional upon international support through new climate finance mechanisms, such as the Green Climate Fund and the conclusion of a legally-binding agreement under the UNFCCC.

The target will cover the energy, industrial processes, agriculture, waste and land use, land use change and forestry sectors. Morocco intends to achieve the conditional target through economy-wide actions based on strategies and 54 action plans covering all sectors.

Key strategies and action plans include the following:

  • a National Energy Strategy providing “42 per cent of the installed electrical power from renewable sources”;
  • a National Waste Recovery Programme, a National Liquid Sanitation and Wastewater Programme;
  • a Green Plan; and
  • a Preservation and Sustainable Forest Management Strategy.

It is worth noting that Morocco will host the Conference of the Parties to the UNFCCC (COP22) in December 2016.

The full text of Morocco’s INDC submission can be accessed here.

Carbon pricing

Carbon pricing instruments have not yet been implemented in Morocco. However, the country is actively exploring carbon pricing instruments under the Partnership for Market Readiness (PMR). Morocco submitted an extensive Market Readiness Proposal (MRP) to the PMR Secretariat in January 20141 for the development of a sectoral crediting instrument for electricity generation, cement production, and phosphates extraction and processing sectors2 as a tool to achieve GHG emission reduction objectives in a cost-effective and accountable way.

Morocco is aiming to establish a domestic carbon market instrument and integrate with the international market (with a potential inclusion of sectors under the EU ETS) between 2018 and 2020.3 This crediting instrument under the PMR is seen as a stepping stone towards another market-based instrument.4

Domestic offset schemes

On 23 April 2015, a voluntary carbon offset programme was launched by the Mohammed VI Foundation for Environmental Protection. This programme was introduced to raise awareness about the greenhouse effect5 and  consists of:

  • determining the GHG emissions generated by an activity with the help of a new carbon footprint tool that conforms to the ISO 14069 standard;6
  • reducing GHG emissions; and
  • offsetting the GHG emissions that cannot be reduced through funding environmental projects in renewable energy and efficiency, planting and environmental education.7 A carbon footprint tool and a carbon database of approximately 300 Emission Factors adapted to the social, economic and environmental context of Morocco has been developed for this purpose.

Some examples of the carbon offsetting projects that have already been implemented include:

  • the planting of 8,000 palm trees in the Marrakech palm grove with drip irrigation systems and solar energy to sequester approximately 9,600 tonnes of CO2 during the life of the project;8
  • installation of solar photovoltaic kit in 142 rural schools and 56 teacher houses across the Kingdom to avoid the emission of 2,575 tonnes of CO2 during the life of the project;  and
  • conducting information, education and awareness workshops to raise awareness of the greenhouse effect and climate change.

Renewable energy

Morocco has the most ambitious renewable energy programme in the MENA region.9 It aims to source 42 per cent (equivalent to approximately 6,000MW) of its total energy mix from solar (2000MW), wind and hydroelectric sources (2000MW) by 2020.

Major renewable energy projects in Morocco include:

  • the DESERTEC project is aimed at building concentrated solar-thermal power (CSP) plants to supply renewable energy from the MENA region to European countries through high-voltage direct current transmission lines;10
  • the Ouarzazate project led by the Moroccan Agency for Solar Energy (MASEN) is a planned 500MW solar plant which will be among the largest CSP in the world;11
  • the Ain Beni Mathar thermosolar plant project led by Spanish company ABENGOA is a 470MW hybrid solar-gas plant and the first solar plant to be constructed with cylinder parabolic mirror technology in Morocco;12
  • the Moroccan Integrated Wind Energy Project, launched in 2010, aims to have a wind power capacity of 2000MW, and to achieve 14 per cent of the national energy balance, both by 2020. The project also aims to save 1.5 million tonnes of fuel a year and prevent the emission of 5.6 million tonnes of CO2 per year; and13
  • Morocco’s Office National de l’Electricité et de l’Eau Potable (ONEE) is part of Morocco’s Integrated Wind Project and has recently launched a tender for the construction of five wind farms totaling a capacity of 850MW.14

In parallel with this energy programme, the Moroccan Government has made increased efforts in recent years to facilitate the development of the renewable energy sector through a number of legal reforms, including:

  • Law n° 13-09 - the Renewable Energy Law - is one of the most important renewable energy policy developments in Morocco. This law promotes renewable energy development by facilitating new entrants and investors in renewable and clean energy and by enabling the export of electricity from renewable sources through the national grid;
  • the creation in 2009 of the Research Institute on Renewable Energy (IRESEN);
  • Law n°16-08 raises the ceiling for self-generation by industrial sites from 10MW to 50MW, enabling large industrial sites to produce their own energy locally;
  • Decree n°1-06-15 requires public institutions to award and fund projects having recourse to competitive public bidding;
  • Law n°16-09, provides for the establishment of the National Agency for the Development of Renewable Energies (ADEREE). ADEREE is in charge of implementing Morocco’s national plan for renewable energy and energy efficiency;
  • Law n°57-09 provides for the establishment of MASEN and sets out a specific framework for solar projects. This law imposes MASEN specific targets on MASEN for the implementation of the Solar Plan; and
  • The elimination in 2013 and 2014 of the effective subsidy on gasoline and fuel oil and the reduction in the subsidy on diesel fuel and, in June 2014, the elimination of the subsidy on fuel used for electricity generation.

Energy efficiency

Energy efficiency forms a major part of Morocco’s National Energy Strategy for Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency, aiming to save 12 to 15 per cent of energy by 2020 and 20 per cent by 2030 of total energy consumption.

The introduction of the following laws and the establishment of the following institutions has facilitated greater energy efficiency:

  • Law n°47-09 relating to energy efficiency introduced in 2011 aims at (i) increasing energy efficiency in the use of energy sources, (ii) avoiding wastage, (iii) reducing the national energy bill and (iv) contributing to sustainable development. Its implementation is mainly based on the principles of energy performance, energy efficiency requirements, energy and environmental impact assessments, compulsory energy audits and technical controls;
  • the introduction of energy performance through a “Code Energétique Bâtiment”, and the labelling of energy equipment;
  • the implementation of a National Programme of Energy Efficiency in the industrial and Transport sectors;
  • the implementation of a compulsory energy impact assessment for large development projects;
  • the establishment of the “Société d’Investissement Energétique” (SIE) (company for energy investment) in February 2010 to diversify resources, promote renewable energy and energy efficiency in accordance with the guidelines of the National Energy Strategy;
  • the introduction of the new Public Private Partnerships (PPPs) law in April 2015, which offers a cost effective way to develop and promote development of infrastructure in Morocco such as renewable energy facilities;15
  • the establishment of ADEREE, which is primarily active in the Corporate Energy Efficiency Programme. ADEREE has launched several energy efficiency programmes in the construction, industrial and transport sectors to achieve this goal. These programmes involve joint ventures with public authorities and international partners; and
  • a solar heater programme (PROMASOL) in the energy efficient plan in 2002 with the objective of doubling solar water heating capacity in three years to 40,000m² per year. The project is expected to save around 920,000 tonnes of CO2 per year until 2020.

Financial support

By adopting an aggressive target for renewable energy and improving energy efficiency (42 per cent and 12 percent by 2020 respectively), lowering fossil fuel subsidies and creating an attractive legal framework for investors, Morocco is facilitating private sector investment in clean energy and low-carbon growth. The country is becoming recognised as a solar power innovation hub, with its renewable energy investment growing from USD 297 million in 2012 to USD 1.8 billion in 2013.16

Climate change financing comes from a range of bilateral and multilateral partners.17 The biggest donors are the European Commission and France with substantial resources from the African Development Bank, World Bank and European Investment Bank. External finance for climate change is provided bilaterally and through global funding mechanisms, and is delivered as grants and loans, as well as technical assistance to projects and government departments. The major instruments are the Clean Technology Fund (CTF) and GEF,18 being the most important current funds for climate change in Morocco.19 By way of example, Morocco secured a USD 125 million loan from the World Bank and a USD 23.95 million loan from the CTF to support its state-owned electricity and water company (ONEE) to develop its first set of three mid-size decentralised solar photovoltaic plants as part of the Clean and Efficiency Project.

In November 2014 four international financial institutions teamed up with the European Union to promote sustainable energy investments in Morocco through the launch of a Sustainable Energy Financing Facility (MorSEFF): the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, the Agence Française de Dévelopement (AFD), the European Investment Bank and Kreditanstalt für Wiederaufbau (KfW). The €80 million facility will provide loans via a group of local participating banks and financial institutions for energy efficiency and small-scale renewable energy investments by private companies in Morocco.

The Moroccan government is not, however, solely relying on donors and foreign investors. Under the law creating MASEN and the agreements concluded between the State and MASEN regarding each project, the Moroccan government undertakes to guarantee the financial sustainability of the Solar Plan on a project-by-project basis. NOORo Ouarzazate II and III projects’ debt is entirely refinanced by MASEN using funds secured by MASEN from international lenders, including the African Development Bank, the World Bank, the European Commission, the CTF, the AFD and KfW.20

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