Current Policy Projections
It is still unclear to what extent and how the COVID-19 crisis might affect Morocco’s emissions in the longer term, as it is the government’s economic rescue and recovery measures that will shape the country’s future emissions. Nonetheless, with currently implemented policies and the economic slowdown caused by COVID-19, we expect Morocco’s GHG emissions to be 80-120 MtCO2e in 2030 excluding LULUCF (approximately 20-90% above 2005 levels and 190-350% above 1990 levels). The range of emissions is lower than the unconditional Nationally Determined Contribution (NDC) pledge and within the range of the conditional pledge.
In addition to the development of renewable energy, our current policy projections include Morocco’s energy efficiency programmes in the buildings sector, public transportation and a shift to rail in the transport sector, as well as measures in the agriculture, industry and waste sectors. Morocco has an objective of reducing its overall energy consumption by 15% by 2030 (Kingdom of Moro 2019). We note, however, that the industrial energy efficiency programme excludes large energy-consuming industries (Government of Morocco 2016d).
In 2019, Morocco issued its 2030 National Climate Plan. This strategy confirms the objectives set under the NDC and sets out new structures and measures for climate governance (Kingdom of Moro 2019).
In June 2020, the governments of Morocco and Germany signed a ‘green hydrogen’ cooperation agreement. Two initial projects to develop and research renewable energy-based hydrogen were announced (Moroccan Press Agency 2020).
Morocco still relies heavily on coal and is expanding its coal-fired power generation, despite minimal coal reserves in the region and, consequently, high dependency on imports (IEA 2018; Le Matin 2016). In December 2018, Morocco commissioned the 1.4 GW Safi ultra-supercritical coal power plant, which is expected to supply around 25% of Morocco’s total electricity (Médias 24 2019). Morocco is also in the process of building a coal power plant in the city of Nador. This 1.3 GW plant is expected to be operational in 2023–2024 (Dref 2018).
In addition to these new coal power plants, Morocco has also taken steps to extend the lifetime of some of its coal plants. In January 2020, the Moroccan Electricity and Water Utility Company, ONEE, agreed to extend its power purchasing agreement (PPA) at the 2 GW Jorf Lasfar coal power plant by another 17 years — from 2027 to 2044 (Industry Projects & Technology 2020).
Power generation needs to be decarbonised by 2050 in order to achieve the Paris Agreement temperature goal (IPCC 2018). Coal, in particular, needs to be phased out for power generation worldwide by 2040 in pathways that limit global temperature increase to 1.5°C (Yanguas Parra et al. 2019). In Paris Agreement compatible pathways for the Middle East and Africa region, coal-based power generation is reduced by 80% in 2030 compared to 2010 levels, leading to a phase-out by 2034 (Yanguas Parra et al. 2019).
Natural gas is projected to reach 23% of total electricity installed capacity by 2030 in Morocco (Hamane 2016). Global natural gas shares would need to reach around 8% of electricity generation by 2050 and be coupled with carbon capture technologies to be compatible with the Paris Agreement (IPCC 2018). Fast renewable uptake is paramount for Morocco’s alignment with long-term temperature goals.
At the core of Morocco’s current emissions reduction efforts stands the government’s target to extend the share of renewable electricity capacity to 42% by 2020 and to 52% by 2030 (Government of Morocco 2016c). In 2018, Morocco’s share of renewable electricity capacity had reached 34% (ONEE 2018).
Under the Morocco Solar Plan, Morocco plans to extend installed solar power capacity (PV and CSP) to 2 GW by 2020, up from 740 MW of installed capacity at the end of 2019 (IRENA 2020). Contrary to the CAT assessment in 2016, which displayed an uncertainty range for the implementation of the Morocco Solar Plan, our current policy projection assumes the full implementation of Morocco Solar Plan due to recent progress to meet the 2020 capacity targets, as explained below.
The Moroccan Agency for Sustainable Energy (MASEN) is leading the development of all renewable energy technologies in Morocco (a task previously led by ONEE). This includes the ongoing development of ONEE’s solar power programme for 500 MW by 2020, including the three large projects Noor-Tafilalet (120 MW), Noor-Atlas (200 MW) and Noor Argana (100 MW). With the projects already led by MASEN, the final phase of the Noor Ouarzazate complex (70 MW out of 580 MW) and the Noor Laayoune (80 MW) and Noor Boujdour (20 MW) projects were commissioned in 2018 (MASEN 2018).
In May 2019, MASEN announced it had awarded the contract for the 800 MW Noor Midelt project, for which completion is expected by 2022 (Bellini 2019). In July of the same year, MASEN also opened the tender for the 230 MW Noor Midelt II project (Reuters 2019). In February 2020, MASEN launched its latest solar tender for the 400 MW Noor PV II project (ME Utilities 2020).
Owing to these recent developments, it is assumed that the Morocco Solar Plan’s capacity extension targets until 2020 will be fully implemented. Some of the latest project developments already address capacity extension plans for the post-2020 period to achieve the 2030 capacity extension target. In our CAT assessment we have not quantified these impacts as the developments and successful implementation for the post-2020 period are relatively more uncertain.
The Morocco Integrated Wind Energy Program aims to increase the capacity of national wind farms from close to 800 MW in 2015 to 2 GW by 2020 (Government of Morocco, 2016a). At the end of 2019, Morocco had 1.2 GW of installed wind capacity (IRENA 2020). This programme is also assumed to be part of the current policy projections since its implementation is on track.
ONEE awarded a tender bid of 850 MW in 2015 that includes five wind projects: 150 MW in Tangiers, 300 MW in Tiskrad, 200 MW in Jbel Lahdid, 100 MW near Boujdour, and 100 MW at Midelt, all beginning operation between 2017 and 2020 (Oxford Business Group 2016).
A recent report published by the World Bank also highlights Morocco’s considerable technical offshore wind energy potential of up to 200 GW – 22 GW fixed and 178 GW floating – within 200 km of the coast (World Bank 2019).
As an extension of the Morocco Hydroelectric Plan, Morocco plans to install an additional hydroelectric capacity of 775 MW by 2020, in addition to the 1.3 GW already installed in 2010. As of 2019, Morocco had a total of close to 1.8 GW in hydro-electric capacity (IRENA 2020). Two projects of 15 MW of small hydropower power in Morocco’s Middle Atlas region received approval in 2018 (HydroWorld 2018). Three plants with a total potential capacity of around 300 MW are further assumed to be developed until 2020, with El Menzel and Station de Transfert d’Energie par Pompage (STEP) Abdelmoumen already under construction. ONEE recently identified numerous sites suitable for locating small or micro hydropower plants (~100 kW to 1,500 kW), with a total potential capacity of around 300 MW (Federal Ministry of Economic Affairs and Energy 2016).
Tramways in Rabat and Casablanca are currently being extended by 10km by 2020 and 45km by 2025, respectively. Similar extensions are planned for the cities of Marrakech, Fez, Tangier and Agadir, although actual implementation has not been started.
In November 2018, Morocco was the first African country to commission a high-speed train line connecting the capital Rabat to Tangier and Casablanca (AFD 2018).
Morocco has taken small steps to encourage the uptake of electric vehicles (EVs). It has installed first charging stations on the highway between Tangier and Agadir. There are however no national targets for the development of electric mobility and the number of EVs in Morocco is still low (Ouchagour 2019).
Agriculture is an important component of the Moroccan economy, representing 14% of GDP and employing close to 40% of its workforce (Government of Morocco 2019).
The main sources of emissions in the sector are agricultural land (46% of emissions in 2014) followed by livestock enteric fermentation (45% in 2014). The mitigation measures of the sector mostly consist of increasing plantations (e.g. of olive and citrus trees, date palms, etc.) to prevent soil erosion and to maintain vegetation cover (Government of Morocco 2019).