Morocco: $11 Billion to Energy Sector
The government of Morocco recently declared its initiation of a $11 billion investment project in the country's energy sector. The project is a direct feed back to the increasing domestic demand of thermal energy. The project is one step forward to providing alternative energy sources, protection of the environment, and…
The government of Morocco recently declared its initiation of a $11 billion investment project in the country’s energy sector. The project is a direct feed back to the increasing domestic demand of thermal energy. The project is one step forward to providing alternative energy sources, protection of the environment, and increasing competitiveness of the Moroccan economy.
Morocco satisfies most of its demands for energy through imported sources. In 2008, total costs related to energy imports reached $8 billion, where most of it came from the Arab Gulf countries.
In a press conference, King Mohamed VI stated that due to the current economic climate, investments in the energy sector are more essential than ever, underlying the importance of investments in the energy sector amid the global financial crisis. The King also discussed a brief history of energy sources and the changing global perspective on its importance over the past decade.
Furthermore, he touched on other valid issues, where efforts for Moroccan integration in the Euro-Med’s energy market were discussed. Recently, the Euro-Med energy market has witnessed increased cooperation among all member countries, especially in electricity and scientific research cooperation.
“This plan links the government and the private sector to implement a strategy aimed at securing energy supply and diversifying energy sources at the right costs,” he told a gathering of top government officials, bankers and executives.
According to the country’s strategic plan for its energy sector, they aim at diversifying the country’s energy sources by 2015, by loosening its heavy reliance on oil and exploring other energy sources such as natural gas, electricity, and nuclear energy, of which all are more environmentally friendlier. The government seeks to expand electricity generation from wind six times from 6,000 MW currently to bring the share of total generation power from winds to 12 percent
Currently, the government is in the process of researching the construction of a nuclear power plant for electricity generation purposes in the southern region of Tantan. The project is a joint Russian-Moroccan one. Also the construction of a thermal energy plant on the coastal region of Al-Garf Al-Asfar is currently taking place with the assistance of the European Union (EU).
The National Office for Electricity increased electricity prices for industrial companies to cover up for the deficit in its budget that resulted from increased energy prices last year, where electricity was sold at prices lower than cost. Currently the deficit stands at $100 million.
Business leaders were worried Morocco might fail to produce enough power to meet the needs of an economy growing at an average 5.3 percent in the past five years.
Morocco’s gross domestic product is expected to expand by 6.7 percent this year, despite the global economic downturn, from 5.8 percent last year, according to government forecasts.
The government is also under pressure to cap the bill for energy, 97 percent of which is imported. The costs strain its trade balance and test its capacity to avoid a wide budget deficit.
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