Plans and priorities
Morocco’s policy on clean energy research, development and innovation (R&D&I) aims to support its national energy policy priorities, boosting the use of renewable energy technology, energy efficiency solutions and helping to develop a local manufacturing industry.
The 22nd Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (COP22 of the UNFCCC), held in Marrakech in November 2016, marked Morocco’s increasing presence in the global arena, its leadership in the deployment of clean energy technologies, and its ambition (as a member of the African Union), to be a locomotive for growth in the African continent and act as a bridge between Europe and Africa, turning itself into a regional energy hub. Conscious of the magnitude of challenges faced by the African continent, Morocco is now pursuing several cooperation initiatives, including the creation of excellence centres to serve African countries in the energy and climate fields. The Moroccan Government is committed to addressing climate change while at the same time ensuring to maintain energy security.
Moroccan government recognises that supporting research and innovation for the development of innovative products, services and processes oriented to the market in the field of clean energy technologies is fundamental for the national energy strategy and will induce the necessary structural changes for the transformation of the Moroccan industry towards the emerging market of clean energy technologies.
Morocco aims to position itself as a technological hub between Europe and Africa, in the field of clean energy technologies. Morocco’s industrial policy promotes clean technology transfer and the development of sustainable technology industries in the country.
Through its participation in Mission Innovation, the Government of Morocco aims to:
- double government investment in clean energy applied research and innovation over five years, from 40 million € in 2012-2017 to 80 million € by 2018-2023,
- be in line with the objectives of Mission Innovation, by pursuing its strategy, regarding the funding of collaborative projects and the implementation of research platforms in the field of clean energy technologies,
- encourage private sector investment in early-stage clean energy innovation companies in Morocco,
- increase regional and international collaboration to advance Mission Innovation goals.
Moroccan policy context
In 2009, Morocco has adopted a national energy policy in favour of the development of renewable energies to secure its energy supply in a context of strong growth in energy demand, to control the future costs of energy services in relation to the upward trend of petroleum products prices and, finally, to preserve the environment by mitigating greenhouse gas emissions.
This National Energy Strategy provided a road map for the transition to a clean energy future with greater energy security and lower carbon emissions in an effort to reduce dependence on imported energy. Its objectives included enhancing energy supply security, diversifying and optimising the electricity fuel mix, accelerating the deployment of renewables, making energy efficiency a national priority, supporting foreign investments in the sector, improving regional integration of the energy sector and allowing energy access for different social segments.
The Moroccan Government has made impressive progress in electrification. In 2018, the share of the population having access to electricity reached 99.43%, compared to just 48.1% in 1990. The challenge now is to upgrade the system to drive economic activities (especially in remote rural areas) and improve quality of life and affordability.
Morocco is pursuing an ambitious climate change policy based on the National Sustainable Development Strategy (November 2017), and the Nationally Determined Contribution (NDC) submitted to UNFCCC when Morocco ratified the Paris Agreement on 21 September 2016. By 2030, Morocco has committed to reducing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions across the entire economy by 17% below BAU levels, and to reducing them by an additional 25%, conditional on international support.
The energy sector is undergoing transition phase in Morocco during the last two decades. This reform is characterized by high penetration of renewables (42% of renewable electricity generation capacity in 2020), rational legal and institutional reforms, and liberalization of the electricity market. In fact, this orientation is the response to the rising demand for electricity following the accelerated development of industrial activities, the population growth, and the increase in per capita energy consumption.
Morocco aims to develop a national renewable energy industry, as it is diversifying its energy supply and increasing significantly the share of renewable energy in the electricity mix. Morocco seeks to become a major player in regional markets and has supported the development of cutting edge technologies, notably in solar photovoltaic and solar thermal energy systems.
The renewable energy objectives have become more ambitious: the 2030-target is now 52 % of installed power capacity from renewable sources, of which 20% will consist of solar energy, 20% wind energy and 12% hydro energy. An increased ambition, regarding the new energy efficiency strategy with 20% by 2030.
In November 2016, Morocco became an IEA Association country. In June 2017, Morocco and the IEA signed a three-year Joint Programme of Work to deepen bilateral cooperation in the areas of energy security, energy efficiency, renewable energy, capacity building, data and statistics. The work programme is tailored to Morocco’s specific needs as it transitions to a low-carbon economy.
Clean energy innovation support
The government of Morocco is committed to a clean energy transition along the lines of the 2009 National Energy Strategy and to Morocco’s ambitious climate targets set out in its Nationally Determined Contribution (NDC) under the Paris Agreement. Significant investment is being deployed in the field of energy technology, research and development and innovation (R&D&I).
Achieving its ambitious climate and renewables objectives requires not only massive investments in the construction of new power generation facilities and smart grids but also well targeted investments in the research and development (R&D) of clean energy technologies. While research and innovation are part of the 2009 National Energy Strategy, Morocco has well defined a dedicated energy RD&I agenda, with priority areas, to boost areas where the country has a competitive advantage. Today, RD&I activities are driven by an industrial policy agenda, private investment in renewable energy and technology transfer programmes through a bottom-up approach.
Morocco’s policy on clean energy research, development and innovation (R&D&I) aims to support its national energy policy priorities, boosting the use of renewable energy technology, energy efficiency solutions and helping to develop a local manufacturing industry. Thus, a major effort has been made to support research in the field of renewable energies, namely through:
- The creation of the Institute for Research in Solar Energy and New Energies (IRESEN), which assumes the development of applied R&D infrastructures and plays the role of a research fund (through its funding agency), that co-finances collaborative applied research projects. The latter are dedicated to renewable energy and green technologies and involve both businesses and Moroccan and foreign universities
- The establishment of research platforms such as the Green Energy Park and Green and Smart Building Park, among others;
- Capacity building and networking of active Moroccan researchers in the field of renewable energies at national and international level;
- Support for innovation and the creation of innovative companies.
From early stage research needs’ assessment to technology demonstration projects, Morocco has undertaken significant R&D&I activities in recent years, in particular since the creation of IRESEN, with the objective to identify strategic topics to guide the research, build joint R&D projects, and create critical research maps. The process involves a dialogue with universities and industrialists to identify the needs of the sector. The final objective is to develop innovative products, services and processes oriented to the market and create green jobs, mainly in the field of solar and wind energy, biomass and biogas, thermal/electric storage, hydropower, smart grids, sustainable mobility and energy efficiency. Thanks to these activities, an ecosystem for R&D&I has been developed, in which universities, research institutes, and business work together. A substantial accumulation of human capital is reflected in the large number of scientific publications generated and the first prototypes of innovative products made in Morocco.
Morocco has fostered a dynamic community of clean energy R&D players with the technical and organizational ability to deliver positive results. The outcome and the impact of R&D are regularly evaluated in order to provide feedback to policy makers and relevant institutions and enable them continually to improve and get the most from investing in R&D.
Through the funding of collaborative projects and the implementation of shared research platforms, Moroccan Government contributes to the creation of synergy between the socio-economic world and the scientific world. The IRESEN funding agency launches, at least, two annual calls. One call is dedicated to applied R&D: “Green INNO-PROJECT”, which aims to support collaborative R&D projects with a strong potential for the development of new market-oriented products, services and / or processes and another call covering innovation projects: “Green INNO-BOOST”, which supports project developers in the incubation or acceleration phases, covering different themes in the fields of renewable energies and new energies and involving universities and Moroccan companies. This strategy aims to position Morocco as a technology hub in the field of clean energy and green technologies through the establishment and development of centres of excellence and highly specialized research units.
Several institutions are involved in the development and priority setting of RD&I policies in Morocco, including legislation, priority setting, funding and evaluation:
- The Hassan-II Academy of Science and Technology, placed under the responsibility of the Prime Minister, contributes to setting the general orientations for scientific and technological development, funding scientific and technical research programmes, and contributing to the integration of scientific and technical research in the national and international collaborative activities and socio-economic development. The Permanent Inter-Ministerial Committee on Scientific Research and Technological Development (CPIRSDT), which is chaired by the Prime Minister, is the core body to coordinate RD&I activities across government, including on energy, supported by the Supreme Council of Education, Training and Scientific Research,
- The Ministry of National Education, Vocational Training, Higher Education and Scientific Research is responsible for setting the policy on fundamental and applied research in universities and research centres. It works closely with other Ministries, including Ministry of Energy, Mines, and Sustainable Development, to promote innovation and is subject to the financial control of the Ministry of Economy and Finance,
- The Ministry of Energy, Mines, and Sustainable Development (MEMDD) is responsible for Morocco’s overall energy policy and contributes to technology priority setting as a member of the CPIRSDT and the implementation by energy agency-IRESEN. MEMDD is responsible of safeguarding security of supply, setting rules for energy markets, and managing the low carbon transition by promoting energy efficiency and renewable energy. It also has responsibility for authorising and supervising energy projects. ONEE, MASEN, AMEE and IRESEN are under the auspices of the MEMDD.
- The National Centre for Scientific and Technical Research (CNRST) is in charge of coordinating research programmes among universities and scientific institutions. The CNRST is also responsible for establishing and maintaining connections and collaborative programmes with research institutions in foreign countries,
- The Institute for Research into Solar and New Energies (IRESEN) is the main body in charge of applied energy R&D. It is responsible for identifying research priorities and projects which are aligned with national energy policy objectives, such as renewable energy and energy efficiency. IRESEN operates as both a funding agency that organises competitive calls for R&D and Innovation projects and a research organization setting up applied R&D platforms, that provide access to research and innovation infrastructure, such as the Green Energy Park and Smart Buildings Park, among others.
- The Moroccan Agency for Sustainable Energy (MASEN) is responsible for developing and managing renewable energy projects and facilitate the market and system integration of renewable energy. It develops projects at the technical, economic and financial level, and coordinates activities in the renewable energy sector.
- The National Agency for Energy Efficiency (AMEE) is the new agency in charge of implementing Morocco’s energy efficiency policy. AMEE was set up in 2016, based on Law 30-9-16 to replace the previous National Agency for Renewable Energies and Energy Efficiency (ADEREE).
- The Energy Development Fund, created in 2009, finances renewable energy and energy efficiency actions.
- The private sector in Morocco is very active and has developed energy RD&I infrastructures in collaboration with IRESEN. OCP R&D organisation is one of the largest R&D groups in Morocco, with activities along the entire phosphates value chain. Renewable energy investors have supported local content and the creation of jobs and local industries in Morocco, supported by research institutions.
Baseline and funding plans
Funding plays a key role in the successful completion of innovation processes and remains vital at each stage of a scientific research and innovation hub development. The initial phase, from the time the technology, product or process is effectively developed to the time it is commercially viable, is generally the phase during which financing is the most difficult to obtain.
- Country-determined baseline year(s): average of 2012-17
- Baseline funding amount: 8 million € average per year
- Doubling target year: 2022-23
- Doubling target amount: 16 million €
Breakdown of baseline spend by sector
|Sector||Baseline spend by sector 2012-2017||Amount to be invested between 2018-2023|
|Energy efficiency||8 million €||15 million €|
|Carbon capture & storage||2 million €||5 million €|
|Renewables||12 million €||23 million €|
|Hydrogen & fuel cells||0 million €||15 million €|
|Other power & storage technologies||13 million €||12 million €|
|Other cross-cutting technologies research||5 million €||10 million €|
Target profile for doubling clean energy innovation investment
|Period||Target profile of spending|
|2017-2018||10 Million €|
|2018-2019||12 Million €|
|2019-2020||13 Million €|
|2020-2021||14 Million €|
|2021-2022||15 Million €|
|2022-2023||16 Million €|
Methodology for determining baseline
The investment included in the baseline and the doubling target represents 100% of Morocco’s clean energy innovation spending. The clean energy R&D Budget comes from the Energy Development Fund. It covers the specific budgets related to annual calls for R&D&I projects and the development of Research infrastructures, mainly:
- Annual R&D call “Green INNO-PROJECT”, specifically dedicated to supporting collaborative R&D projects with a strong potential for developing new market-oriented products, services or processes. The maximum duration of projects is three (3) years. The funds provided are given in the form of a subvention in accordance with the project specifications. The maximum financial contribution for each funded collaborative R&D project is 300 000 Euros/project.
- Annual R&D JOINT call “INNO-ESPAMAROC ENERGY” with Spanish Government, between IRESEN and CDTI (SPAIN), specifically dedicated to supporting collaborative R&D projects with a strong potential for developing new market-oriented products, services or processes. The maximum duration of projects is three (3) years. The funds provided are given in the form of a subvention in accordance with the project specifications. The maximum financial contribution for each funded collaborative R&D project is about 1 000 000 Euros/project.
- Annual Innovation call for projects: “Green INNO-BOOST” dedicated to support developers in the incubation or acceleration phases, mainly entrepreneurs (Young companies and SMEs) who want to innovate, in partnership with a university or a research centre, having already developed an innovative product, service or process with high commercialization potential and added value. This involves paying attention to technology, but also to market issues, intellectual property, and financial challenges that could impact the success of the project. The funding is provided in the form of a grant and credit at 0%, according to the project specifications. The maximum duration of the project is two (2) years. The maximum financial contribution for each collaborative R&D project is 300 000 Euros/project, in the form of maximum 30% subsidy and maximum of 70% loan at 0% rate.
- Grants for Ph-D students, mobility of researchers and purchase of equipment and consumables.
- Setup of Laboratories inside the universities (more than 12 laboratories) and development of highly specialised research units as well as creation of knowledge and know-how through innovative and collaborative projects.
- Development and setup of research infrastructures that provide universities and enterprises with testing, researching and training services:
- The Green Energy Park, operational since 2017, is a renewable energy platform for testing, researching and training located in the town of Benguerir, next to Mohamed VI Polytechnic University. The facility was built in collaboration between IRESEN and the OCP Group and is considered as the first R&D platform of its kind in Africa. It is designed to create synergies and partnerships between different Moroccan research institutions, and to support the various partner universities as well as Moroccan industries in acquiring knowledge and know-how.
- The Green and Smart Building Park (GSBP) is due to be opened in 2018 as a research and education platform dedicated to green buildings, energy efficiency and the integration of renewable energy sources in the building sector. It aims to bring together various institutions and local actors in the building sector (research centres, universities, development agencies, SMEs, etc.), and to encourage research in energy efficiency and savings in the building environment.
- The Water-Energy Nexus platform is due to be launched in 2019. It will be dedicated to water desalination, water treatment and the links between the energy and water sectors.
- The Bioenergy-TIC and Storage Park is due to be launched around 2020. It will focus on biomass, bioenergy and energy storage
- The Morocco-Ivory Coast Energy Park (MICEP) for south-south collaboration, in joint collaboration with INPHB institute in Yamoussoukro (Ivory Coast), dedicated to renewable energy and energy efficiency. It aims to bring together various institutions form Morocco and Ivory Coast (research centres, universities, development agencies, SMEs, etc.), and to encourage training, knowledge transfer and innovation in green technologies.
Country definition of clean energy RD&D investment
Research, development and demonstration of technologies in renewable energies (new technological developments, new applications aimed at industrial and social integration, new adaptations to climate change); energy efficiency in building, agriculture, transportation and industry; integration of renewable energies into the electricity grid; nexus: Water / Renewable Energies / Agriculture; sustainable mobility; energy storage (new sources of energy storage, new storage materials adapted to extreme weather conditions, new forms of energy storage, new methods of reducing the storage cost); smart grids; hydrogen& fuel cells; green industries and mines; digitalization in clean energy; smart cities and new clean energies.
Investments are implemented through a number of mechanisms including cost-shared projects with the private sector, subsidies/grants and support for collaborative research centres targeted to key energy technology frontiers.