Morocco used to be the largest energy importer in MENA. Today, its challenge has shifted from becoming an independent energy producer to an exporter. In 2008 the government launched the National Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency Plan, which aimed to develop alternative energies to meet 15% of the country’s domestic needs and increase the use of energy-saving systems. Since then, the state has set a more ambitious goal: to increase the share of renewable energy capacity to 42% of the total energy mix by 2020 and 52% in 2030. As a result, significant legal reforms have been enacted to improve the legal and regulatory environment for renewable energy, in particular:
• Law No. 13-09 of February 11, 2010. This promotes renewable energy development, and provides a framework for developers and investors in clean energy projects. It does not put a limit on the installed capacity per project or per type of energy, and provides a legal framework for energy export.
• Law No. 16-09 of February, 11 2010 established the National Agency for the Development of Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency (Agence Nationale pour le Développement des Energies Renouvelables et de l’Efficacité Energétique, ADEREE);
• Law No. 57-09 created the Moroccan Agency for Solar Energy (MASEN) in order to ensure the implementation of the Moroccan solar programme.
MASEN aims to achieve the development of integrated electricity production from solar energy, with a minimum total capacity of 2000 MW. In addition to the regulatory arsenal, Morocco is set to create an independent National Electricity Regulatory Agency to support the expansion of the energy sector.
Overview of Law No. 13-09
The regime established by Law No. 13-09 relating to renewable energy provides a legal framework for the development of renewable energy projects in Morocco. Renewable energy projects are defined as all sources of energy that are naturally renewable, particularly solar energy, wind energy, geothermal energy, wave and tidal energy, and energy generated through biomass, waste and biogas. It excludes hyrdoelectric plants with an installed power capacity over 30 MW.
Law No. 13-09 aims to promote energy production from renewable sources for market and export either by public or private entities. Previously, the National Office of Electricity and Water Supply, the state-owned utility responsible for the provision of electricity and the operation of the transmission system, had a monopoly on the production of electricity. Law No. 13-09 allows for electricity to be produced and exported by private entities. However, the supply of electricity must still be undertaken via the national grid.
The law also provides for the principle that any power producer, whether public or private, of renewable energy sources has the right to be connected to the medium-, high- and very-high-voltage grid.
According to the provisions of the aforementioned law, a preliminary statement regime is required for new or upgraded installations that (i) produce renewable energy of less than 2 MW and more than 20 KW and are owned by the same operator on one or various sites; or (ii) produce 8 MW or more of thermal energy.
Furthermore, renewable energy projects with a capacity of 2 MW or more can only be implemented if they are proposed by the ADEREE. The applicant should initially obtain a temporary authorisation for the construction of the renewable facility and then final authorisation for its operation. If the facility is not used one year after it has been granted the final authorisation, or if electricity production is suspended for more than two consecutive years, then the final authorisation may be withdrawn. However, no conditions would apply in the case of renewable energy that is provided by a unique promoter at less than 20 KW.