COP 28 Insight: Dalal Rhazzar Explores Morocco’s Green Vision 

With Suzan Taha

As COP 28 unfolds, LegalcommunityMENA engages in an insightful conversation with Dalal Rhazzar, Legal Counsel at Proparco, who delves into the intricacies of Morocco’s renewable energy landscape.  

In the context of the ongoing climate summit, this interview provides a unique legal perspective on how Morocco is navigating the challenges and opportunities in sustainable energy. Rhazzar shares insights into the nation’s strides in solar and wind power, hydrogen production initiatives, and the legal framework shaping its commitment to a greener future. 

Morocco has made strides in renewable energy. Could you provide an overview of the renewable energy sector in Morocco and its significance within the country’s national energy policy, especially considering the upcoming COP 28? 

Since 2009, Morocco has adopted a national energy strategy regarding the development of renewable energy in order to (i) bridge its needs in green energy, (ii) reduce its energy dependence on external energy sources and (iii) build a diversified energy mix. 

To meet these challenges, Morocco has launched a large-scale integrated program in order to increase the share of renewable energy installed in electrical power up to 52% by 2030. 

From 2009 onwards, 111 projects related to renewable energy have been carried out or are in progress. The total installed capacity of renewable sources has reached 3950 MW. The renewable energy contribute around 20% to the production of electrical energy and the ratio of energy dependence went from 97.5% in 2009 to 90.51% up to date.  

In line with its commitments, King Mohamed VI highlighted, during his speech at COP 28, the Morocco’s determination to follow its climate change action by adopting a “Pact for Action” which should be characterized by “voluntarism, ambition and vision”. Through this kind of action, we can move forward and face the tackling of the climate change. 

Morocco has implemented legal reforms to promote renewable energy, including laws such as 13-09 and 48-15. How has the legal framework evolved, and what role does it play in achieving the country’s environmental goals set for COP 28? 

In order to promote and develop renewable energy, Morocco has adapted its strategy by (i) developing a special legal framework applicable to the renewable energy sector including a new regime for self-generation and (ii) the creation of operators with the capacity and capability to manage, supervise and promote renewable energy. 

In this context, the law 13-09 has provided the regulatory framework for the production and sale of electricity from renewable energy sources. Due to the private and industrial sector requests, the Moroccan government have adapted several reforms in order to reflect the evolution of this sector. As part of these reforms, the publication of (i) law n°40-19 amending law n°13-09 on renewable energy, (ii) law n°48-15 on the regulation of the electricity sector and the establishment of the National Electricity Regulation Agency and (iii) law n°82-21 on self-generation of electricity.  

The reforms’ purpose is to face and cope with some difficulties reported by private and industrial sectors, which are related mainly to, inter alia, the authorization grant, the mechanism to sell electricity to distribution network operators, the establishment of certificate of origin and the development of desalination projects that have a self-generation component. 

The adoption of these reforms will help energy actors to implement a number of important energy projects in Morocco. Additionally, it will live up to the commitments made at COP 21 in Paris, in 2015, and COP 22 in Marrakesh, in 2016 and certainly will help Morocco to reach the goals set up in the field of renewable energy during the ongoing COP 28, in Dubai. 

What specific government initiatives or bodies in Morocco are actively promoting and supervising renewable energy projects, and how do these align with the objectives of COP 28? 

The Moroccan government has set up many initiatives to deploy renewable energy and pursue green development in order to accelerate the economic and energy transition.  

To achieve this goal, the government has set up the Moroccan Agency for Solar Energy (MASEN) dedicated specifically to supervising the implementation of large-scale solar and wind projects. In addition to MASEN, there is a Moroccan Agency for Energy Efficiency (AMEE), which focuses exclusively on improving energy efficiency. We also have other agencies for research and development, such as the Research Institute for Solar Energy and New Energies (IRESEN). 

Over the past ten years, renewable energy bodies focus their initiatives mainly on: (i) promoting and developing of green hydrogen, (ii) establishing a roadmap to marine energy, (iii) elaborating an integrated program of desalination projects and (v) the implementation of industrial decarbonization integrated programs. 

Morocco has seen significant developments in solar and wind power projects, like the Noor-Ouarzazate complex and Noor Atlas program. How do these projects contribute to the country’s renewable energy goals, especially in the context of COP 28? 

According to both its renewable energy policy and its energy national program of 2020-2050, Morocco has built massive solar and wind projects, which comply with its international energy commitments. 

Such projects include, amongst others, (i) the Noor-Ouarzazate Solar Power, which became operational in 2018 and consists of four power plants, with a total capacity of 580 MW and (ii) Noor Atlas Project, shall be operational by 2024 with a total capacity of 200 MW. 

The implementation of these projects contribute to the fight against global warming by reducing CO2 emissions, providing electricity access to 100% population, meeting domestic and European energy demands and reducing reliance on imported fossil fuel. 

Morocco is exploring hydrogen production as part of its renewable energy strategy. Could you elaborate on the efforts and projects related to green hydrogen production, and how they support Morocco’s commitment to COP 28 goals? 

As part of the development of the renewable energy sector, the Moroccan Ministry of Energy, Mines and Environment set out a roadmap on green hydrogen through the creation of the Hydrogen National Commission. Additionally, Morocco has also entered into an agreement with Germany for the development of the green hydrogen production sector. There is also a program in Morocco to produce green ammonia, which places it as a leader producer of phosphate fertilizer. 

Morocco has rapidly played an important role in the hydrogen sector by (i) investing approximately more than 8 billion euros and (ii) accelerating its hydrogen production and (iii) positioning itself as a future key supplier of the EU market aiming to meet 5% of Europe’s demand. This ambitious effort aligns with its sustainable development and environment goals. 

As part of the COP 28, Morocco and European Union entered into a green energy agreement under which the European Union will provide Morocco with 50 million euros to support green energy and carbon removal programs. The agreement will concern reforms in renewable and sustainable energy in Morocco, including green hydrogen and researches made in that field. 

About Dalal Rhazzar

Dalal Rhazzar is a highly skilled legal professional specializing in project financing and structured financing. Admitted to the Paris and Casablanca Bar, she brings a wealth of expertise in advising lenders, sponsors, and governments on complex Energy and Infrastructure projects spanning various sectors and geographic regions, including France, Africa, and the EMEA.

Holding a master’s degree in business law from Pantheon Assas University and a master’s degree in project finance and structured finance from Ecole des Ponts et Chaussées, Rhazzar combines academic rigor with practical insights. Fluent in English, French, and Arabic, she navigates legal intricacies and contributes significantly to the development and financing of large-scale projects. Rhazzar’s commitment to excellence is evident in her focus on Banking and Financial Law, particularly in the domains of Project Finance and Structured Finance, solidifying her reputation as a leading legal professional in the field.

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