Power sector in 2030
Morocco’s power sector is dominated by coal, natural gas, and hydropower. In 2020, 39% of the installed electricity capacity was sourced from coal. This was followed by 18% from natural gas (both turbines and combined cycle plants), 16.7% from hydropower, 13.5% from wind power, 7.1% from solar, and 5.8% from fuel oil and diesel thermal sources.
1.5°C compatible pathways indicate that Morocco would need to reduce its reliance on unabated fossil fuels in power generation from 81% in 2019 to between 2-9% in 2030. Coal would need to be fully phased out of the national power mix by 2030, and natural gas would need to be phased out between 2028-2034. This stands in contrast with the country current plans to expand the lifetime of its coal power plants on top of building a 1.3 GW coal power plant (see current situation for more information), which put the country at risk a getting stuck with costly stranded assets. Similarly, carbon intensity would need to drop from 720 gCO₂/kWh in 2019 to a maximum of 50 gCO₂/kWh by 2030, and the sector should be fully decarbonised by between 2035-2038.
This stands in contrast with the country’s NDC target of installing at least 450 MW of imported natural gas capacity and related infrastructure by 2030. Morocco’s National Climate Plan also explicitly articulates intentions to increase imports of LPG for industrial use, and to enhance the use of natural gas in the industry sector by 2030. Natural gas is projected to reach 23% of total installed capacity of electricity in Morocco by 2030. The country also continues to support the use of coal, having commissioned the 1.4 GW Safi ultra-supercritical coal power plant in 2018, and extended the power purchasing agreement at the 2 GW Jorf Lasar coal power plant from 2027-2044., Morocco is also in the process of building a new 1.3 GW Nador coal power plant.,
Collectively, these activities would put the country at risk of being stuck with stranded, carbon-intensive assets with high upfront investment. Continued support for coal and natural gas would also increase Morocco’s dependency on imports, given the negligible reserves of both fossil fuels in the country.
Towards a fully decarbonised power sector
The carbon intensity of Morocco’s power sector would need to reduce from 720 gCO₂/kWh in 2019 to zero by 2038 at the latest to be 1.5°C compatible. This could be driven by a complete phase-out of coal from the power mix by 2030, natural gas by no later than 2034, and other unabated fossil fuels by no later than 2040. Renewable energies should contribute 99-100% of the power mix by 2040, compared to 19% in 2019.
The power sector decarbonisation will almost exclusively be driven by the uptake of renewable energy.
Morocco’s NDC target also aims to increase the share of installed renewable capacities to 52% of the total national capacity by 2030. According to the National Climate Plan and Third Biennial Update Report, this would include about 4000 MW of solar and wind power respectively by 2030, and 875 MW of hydroelectric power by 2030., With Morocco’s total installed hydropower, solar, and wind energy capacity at 3951 MW in 2020, the Government of Morocco would need to significantly accelerate its adoption of renewable energies to comply with 1.5°C compatible pathways.,