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Morocco pioneering solar energy

Sept. 18, 2011 - 18:33 By
Chartering through the renewable energy sector has become a necessity for many countries.

For Morocco, it is a matter of survival and one that might be beneficial to the country’s development.

Like Korea, Morocco imports most of its energy and when the price of crude oil breaks records, the economy of Morocco suffers a tremendous blow.

“This is a great challenge for us,” said Mustapha Bakkoury, president of the Moroccan Agency for Solar Energy.

“Our objective is to double our necessary capacity,” he said. “This is for our future economic development and it has to be based on respecting environmental standards as well.”
President of the Moroccan Agency for Solar Energy Mustapha Bakkoury. (Yoav Cerralbo/The Korea Herald)

Morocco started developing its renewable energy sector in the 1960s with hydroelectric dams, then in the 1990s, Morocco moved ahead with the development of wind energy.

Now, Morocco is suffering from the same problems many countries suffer, a high energy demand during peak hours and high oil prices.

But the North African country does not believe in just waiting to see how technology will advance in the renewable energy sector, it is taking advantage of friends in other countries like Korea to develop new technologies that will help fuel the energy consumption of tomorrow.

“The idea is to be a player in this sector, a lot of countries are investing in research and development in this sector,” he said.

Spain and Germany have made leaps and bounds developing new technologies used to manufacture renewable energy. The United States is also playing its card while new movers such as Korea, India, South Africa and Australia are also looking to the future.

“Morocco is one of these pioneers in this field,” Bakkoury said.

Concerning Korea, Bakkoury explained that both countries are looking to find the best way to move ahead.

“There is a lot of research going on now for large scale battery storage. We could develop that together but storage will be a real issue for the future for all the countries who want to develop this sector,” he noted.

Morocco is looking to increase its production of solar energy to 2,000 megawatts by 2020, a giant leap considering that the most being produced at the moment is 900 megawatts in Spain and the United States.

Bakkoury explained that this goal could be achieved by utilizing the Sahara Desert.

“There will be solar panels peppered throughout the Sahara,” he said.

In the world of diplomacy, 2020 is a magic year for many countries especially those in the European Union who are planning to cut greenhouse gases by 20 percent.

“Europe has a large potential of wind but the energy generated from these plants is not enough to meet their 20 percent reduction,” he said. “So our intention is to develop projects where we can export that energy to Europe.”

By Yoav Cerralbo (