World Bank senior energy specialist offshore wind Mark Leybourne said Morocco has a “fantastic” offshore wind resource “that is too attractive to ignore”
Responding to a comment on a World Bank technical analysis of Morocco’s offshore wind potential – one of around 50 countries for which the World Bank has conducted an analysis – Mr Leybourne said offshore wind in Morocco could be exploited to support the decarbonisation of industry in the country. He said the ‘temporal profile’ of the resource could also be beneficial for the energy mix.
In the longer term, Mr Leybourne said the inclusion of hydrogen generation from offshore wind could help avoid transmission issues and also allow Morocco to become an energy exporter. “This could bring substantial economic benefits, particularly if the European hydrogen market grows as predicted,” he said.
A World Bank analysis of emerging markets for offshore wind was undertaken by its Energy Sector Management Assistance Program in partnership with the International Finance Corporation. It focused on Morocco and a number of other countries, and found that the country’s western coast along the Atlantic Ocean has excellent wind speeds in shallow and deeper waters suitable for offshore wind.
There are two areas well-suited for fixed foundations in the southern and central regions of the country, with technical potentials of 11 GW for the southernmost area, and 10 GW for the central area.
Further from shore, there is a band of waters up to 1,000 m deep with wind speeds reaching over 9 m/s which would be suitable for floating offshore wind with a total technical potential of 135 GW.
On the northern coast there is another band of waters with 43 GW of floating wind potential.
The World Bank report said grid access points exist near the potential development areas though substantial reinforcement will be needed to transmit power to the main demand centres of Rabat and Casablanca.
Solar and onshore wind generation in Morocco have recently expanded but still have some way to go so offshore wind must join the queue for renewable energy deployment.
The report noted that as of 2014, Morocco imported approximately 90% of its energy needs. “Morocco’s national strategic objective is to improve security of supply by reducing dependence on energy imports, including increasing use of renewable sources for electricity production,” the report said.
“By 2030, renewable energy sources are planned to provide 52% (10 GW) of the total installed capacity.”
The report said that, if Morocco was to develop offshore wind, it could potentially sell energy into Europe’s market, specifically Spain and Portugal, as they have yet to deploy offshore wind themselves (although both countries are now developing plans to do so).
Offshore wind would of course also have to compete with other renewable energy sources in the country but its scale, proximity to coastal centres of population, ability to generate long-term employment and nearby countries also in need of renewable energy bode well for its potential.
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