UAE Masdar, Morocco’s ONEE Achieve Solar Power Project

Abu Dhabi’s renewable energy company Masdar announced on Sunday that it has completed a landmark off-grid solar power project, supplying energy to 19,438 households in more than 1,000 rural villages in Morocco.

The announcement was made Sunday on the sidelines of the 8th session of the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) held in Abu Dhabi Jan.12-14 with the participation of 1,100 government and corporate officials from around the world gathered to discuss opportunities and challenges in the renewable energy sector.

The Morocco Solar Home System (SHS) project, carried out in partnership between Masdar and Morocco’s Office National d’Eau et d’Electricité (ONEE), was launched in 2015.

Moroccan Minister of Energy, Mining and Sustainable Development, Aziz Rabbah, who attended the IRENA session, and Emirati Minister of Climate Change and Environment, Thani Ahmed Al Zeyoudi, hailed the Morocco-UAE fruitful cooperation that made it possible to achieve the SHS project that will supply clean and low-cost energy in off-grid areas in Morocco.

Rabbah noted that both countries have scored significant progress in the field of renewable energies, making of them two regional poles in the Arab world in this area, while the UAE official lauded the partnership between Masdar and ONEE, saying that the success of this project will pave the way for other cooperation initiatives between the two countries.

Aziz Rabbah considered that this partnership project was a model to follow for the countries where populations still suffer from difficult access to electricity, especially in Africa.

In this context, the Minister pleaded for tripartite cooperation between Morocco, the United Arab Emirates and African countries in the field of renewable energies, a new and high-impact sector given its positive social repercussions, particularly in the fields of health and education.

Morocco plans to bring the share of renewable energy in overall electricity production to 42% by 2020 and 52% by 2030. It has earmarked a global $30 billion budget to that effect, of which $2.3 billion will be used to boost the use of solar energy in farming.

The UAE on its part decided to increase its target for the contribution of renewable energy to the national energy mix from 24 per cent to 27 per cent by 2021. The UAE Energy Plan 2050 aims to grow the proportion of clean energy to 50 per cent.

“The country seeks to produce 44 per cent of the clean energy from renewable sources as part of its commitment to sustainability across all sectors, especially the energy industry,” Director General of the Abu Dhabi Fund for Development, Mohamed Saif Al Suwaidi, said during the IRENA assembly.

On the sidelines of the IRENA assembly, Rwanda and Mauritius
have been awarded concessional loans worth respectively $15 million and $10 million to build solar projects aimed at boosting renewable energy supplies in low-income communities, reported the UAE paper The National on its website.

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