Morocco to upgrade power link with Spain

LONDON (Reuters) - Morocco plans to add 700 MW of capacity on its subsea power cable link with Spain by 2012 and to become a net exporter to Europe by 2014, an energy ministry official said on Monday.

Electricity pylons in Johannesburg in a file photo. REUTERS/Mike Hutchings/Files

“We are now developing the third line. Capacity now is 1,400 MW and it will reach 2,100 MW in 2012,” said Abderrahim El Hafidi, director of electricity and renewable energy in the Moroccan energy ministry.

Morocco currently imports power from its European neighbour but the flow is set to reverse because of large investments in green energy, El Hafidi told Reuters in an interview on the sidelines of a conference designed to promote investment in the kingdom.

“We can produce green electricity in Morocco and from 2014 we have all the interconnection capacity (we need) free for export to Europe.”

“This is our new energy strategy for the future.”

Last week, the Moroccan government unveiled a 2,000 MW solar energy project worth $9 billion.

Solar, wind and hydropower combined are projected to make up 42 percent of the Moroccan energy mix in 2020, compared with 26 percent today.

Morocco is keen to develop alternative energy sources to cut its reliance on imported oil, which last year cost it a record $9.3 billion.

The kingdom is the only North African country with no oil production of its own, although exploration is under way.

El Hafidi said the country is also planning to invest in nuclear energy from 2020.

“We are planning to introduce nuclear power into our mix between 2020-2025. We are preparing the legal framework and launching a technical study.”