INCREASED EFFORTS

Morocco 2020/21 | GREEN ECONOMY | INTERVIEW

By promoting energy-efficient solutions and raising awareness of efficient energy in rural areas, AMEE is pushing Morocco's energy transition forward.

Saïd Mouline
BIOGRAPHY

Saïd Mouline is an engineer specialist in the energy and environmental space. He is a graduate of Grenoble Institute of Technology, France, and University of Pennsylvania in the US. He was previously president of the energy, climate, and green economy commission at the General Confederation of the Moroccan Companies (CGEM). He was advisor to the president of OCP and head of public private partnerships at COP 22
committee. He was also president of the Mediterranean Association of National Agencies for Energy Management (MEDENER).

What are your main operations in Morocco?
Morocco's energy transition, which relies on renewable energies and energy efficiency, demand long-term policies. The case of Morocco is interesting in this perspective: being the source of only 0.15% of the world emissions, the energy transition represents a political will of the highest level of the state and emerged not during the COP 22, but in 2009. Priority was given to renewable energies and energy efficiency, through two dedicated agencies, AMEE and the Moroccan Agency for Sustainable Energy (MASEN), in charge developing the largest projects around renewables. Both must go hand in hand. It is essential that a voluntarist policy in energy efficiency be developed in all sectors: electricity production, industry, urban planning, construction, transport, agriculture, and so on. Energy efficiency establishes itself as a key lever by being the most effective strategic approach so that countries meet their commitments to reduce greenhouse gases rapidly and at a lower cost. In 2020, the industrial, agricultural, and public construction sectors were the main targets of AMEE. We could make quicker progress if green financing was available. Even if renewable energies are easily financed today, energy efficiency requires more financial support.

If people install solar panels on roofs, can they sell electricity back to the grid?
One can only produce electricity for personal use. Today, there are public projects for utilities, and MASEN is launching tenders and buying all the electricity produced from promoters. However, there is also a law allowing individuals to produce their own renewable energy and even sell it to another industry, though only on high tension. Low and mid tension is being debated. We have many completely private projects selling to other private companies. Steel, mining, and railway companies are purchasing electricity from private wind projects. We are pushing for legislation on small projects and for public buildings at the highest level of the state. All public buildings such as AMEE should be an example by using a solar roof where possible and reducing their energy bills.

What are the biggest challenges to reach 15% energy efficiency by 2030?
In some cases, it will be easy, and in others it will be difficult. We are pushing to have national financial support for energy efficiency because we can help all farmers be more efficient. In industry, we also need more financing, though it is great that local banks have loans dedicated to energy efficiency. We also need water treatment stations for residential uses and biogas as energy, with the water being used for irrigation. There is a nexus between water, electricity, and energy. There is a program for all 12 regions in the country that we are discussing with mayors to have this energy efficiency reflected. They receive projects from hotels, industry, hospitals, and so on. We can check if the projects have an energy-efficient approach. We will also
monitor energy efficiency and by law track the consumption of all big consumers in industry. We have a program to monitor and label all imports and to establish minimum energy performance standards.

Can you tell us more about your energy-efficiency workshops in rural areas and how this will be implemented nationally?
Heightening awareness and capacity building are keys. We are raising the awareness of farmers in all regions. We train young people how to install and maintain solar pumps. We have a training center in Marrakesh called Green Platform that helps capacity building in different sectors linked to energy efficiency for Morocco and all of Africa. AMEE has 20 agreements with different agencies on the continent. The approach is to have young people who are locally trained doing the installation and maintenance of thousands of small projects. This is how we can create jobs by providing energy to millions of people.