afrol News, 28 October - The Moroccan government has announced plans to triple its electricity output by 2020 to meet growing electricity demand among its citizens and the in booming tourism sector.
This was announced by Morocco's Minister of Energy, Mines, Water and Environment, Amina Benkhadra, this week. Ms Benkhadra was signing conventions that secure state support for the establishment of an integrated solar electric power system.
Minister Benkhadra said that Morocco's new energy strategy aims at building a diversified and balanced energy sector in which renewable energy occupies a special place. The new plan was needed to meet growing demand, preserve the environment and reduce dependence on foreign energy, she added.
According to Moroccan officials, the new energy plan comes as a response to economic and social development in the country. Major projects within different sectors - including agriculture, industry, infrastructure, housing and tourism - are already launched in Morocco, or are in the pipeline.
The Minister outlined that "this unprecedented development and growth" was creating rapidly growing energy needs in the country. Energy spending was on average growing between 5 and 7.5 percent each year, leading to a doubling of electricity consumption by 2020 and a fourfold increase by 2030.
Ms Benkhadra therefore announced that Morocco was to triple its energy output during the next decade, both to meet growing demands and to lessen the kingdom's dependence on energy imports.
The Energy Ministry in this strategy was to focus on renewable energies. Morocco is seen to have great potentials within solar, wind and hydro-electric plants.
Ms Benkhadra announced two new power plants at the presentation. Government had approved of two solar and wind energy programmes, each to generate 2000 MW.
Also Morocco's electricity facility ONE has noticed the increased pressure to quickly boost the country's energy production. Only during last year, ONE invested dirham 6.55 billion (US$ 812 million) into new electric power production, transport and distribution and the rural electrification programme.
While Morocco's fast growing cities and its booming tourist facilities earlier had been at the centre of energy infrastructure investments, ONE over the last years has been ordered to electrify rural parts of the kingdom. The rate of rural electrification reached 96.5 percent during 2009, compared to 95.4 percent in 2008.
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