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Renewable Energy: A Key to Enhancing the Societal Dimension of Energy Transition in Morocco

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Release date: 2018-05

Morocco’s energy challenges lie at the intersection of the country’s development and climate challenges. In BICC Policy Brief 6\2018 “Renewable Energy: A Key to Enhancing the Societal Dimension of Energy Transition in Morocco” Shahrazad Far gives recommendations for future cooperation.

Based on the participatory approach with local stakeholders and partner institutes the within the joint research project MENA SELECT (MENA Sustainable ELECtricity Trajectories) the author in BICC Policy Brief 6\2018 in particular recommends:

\ Harness the potential of societal support for the renewable-based  electricity-generating technologies 

The potential of renewable energies (REs) goes beyond  their contribution to mitigating climate and energy security concerns. Renewables have a high potential for  societal support. Different Moroccan stakeholders from  policy and decision-making institutions, civil society,  academia, youth and industry prefer renewables-based  electricity-generating technologies over conventional  non-renewables-based technologies. To harness the  full potential of societal support of the RE potential in  Morocco, small and medium scale RE projects ought to  be encouraged in parallel to large-scale projects. 

\ Take into account societal preferences regarding the Moroccan  National Energy strategy

There is an intrinsic benefit in streamlining the Moroccan electricity sector transformation process with societal  preferences. It helps to foster a sense of ownership  among Moroccan citizens. It also permits policymakers  and project developers to count on societal support for  the policies and the different energy projects. Moroccan stakeholders from policy and decision-making  institutions, civil society, academia, youth and industry  share and support the national vision of “a low carbon  and climate change resilient development” but differ  on the priorities of how to achieve it. Over the long term, Moroccan stakeholders have a strong preference  for replacing fossil energy sources by REs. Reducing  import dependency and lowering electricity costs play  a decisive role in these preferences. The stakeholders  have even opted for a 100 per cent renewable energy  scenario by 2050, whereby the largest share would  be provided by wind and solar energy. Such a scenario underscores three of the key sustainability criteria  deemed of high importance to the Moroccan stake- holders namely energy independence, electricity costs  and water consumption.  

\ Balance national and local impacts   of the electricity sector transformation

In future implementation plans of the Moroccan   National Energy Strategy, the societal dimension, i.e.  the various impacts that the energy strategy will have  on society and its different social groups at various  levels ought to be emphasized. Beyond the techno–economic effects of the energy strategy on the national level, it has potential societal impacts on the  well-being of the communities in the vicinity of the  planned power plants. These impacts range from  on-site job creation to physical safety, health and air  pollution as well as pressure on local land and water  security. In Morocco, renewable energies have a high  potential of achieving the balance between negative  and positive impacts both on the local and national  levels compared to non-renewables.