Since the end of last July, the European Union has drawn up emergency plans for member states to reduce the use of gas by 15 percent until next March (2023), warning of the consequences of “not achieving a significant reduction in consumption ; Because it may have a hard time getting fuel over the winter if Russia cuts off supplies,” Reuters reported.
In practice, countries such as Germany and Spain have begun to implement and activate this “voluntary measure” by reducing and rationalizing their energy consumption (particularly electricity), as proposed by the Commission of the European Union, since that the corresponding period effectively began on August 1 and will continue until March 31, 2023. The decrease will also be measured by comparison with the average consumption of these countries during this period during the previous five years.
While the EU Council statement presents the measure as “voluntary”, countries will have to report to the committee on progress made on reduction measures. The European bloc also stressed that “this measure will be adopted for a period of one year only, and its possible extension will be studied next May.”
This comes at a time when many European countries call for solidarity among the 27 members of the Union, to face the gas crisis and its repercussions; The most recent of them was the call by German Chancellor Olaf Scholz, on Thursday, to “establish an oil pipeline between Portugal and Central Europe that passes through France”, considering that the continent has “many shortcomings” in the context of the resulting energy crisis of the war that has been going on in Ukraine since the beginning of this year and added that “it would have contributed significantly today to alleviate” the supply situation in the “old continent”.
In light of the energy crisis that has led many countries in the world to review their energy policies, and to withdraw from the exploitation of Russian gas to generate their needs, it seems that Morocco is not immune to the effects of this global context of crisis, but the Kingdom has anticipated it, during the last decade, with large and multiple structural projects; The most outstanding of these continues to be the search for energy production from renewable sources, and the start-up of studies and gas exploration work in various areas, both on land and on the coast.
The “energy mix” on the horizon 2030
Mustafa Labrak, a Moroccan expert in energy economics, said that the goal set by Morocco to reach 52 percent of its production capacity from renewable energies “has suffered some delays in 2020 due to the effects of the pandemic”; However, he expressed optimism that the “energy mix” would be reached by 2030, in light of the current global energy crisis, which “played an accelerating role and renewed the insistence of officials in Morocco to achieve what the energy strategy national had established. as an objective”, emphasizing that “the Kingdom must ensure stability and energy independence in the long, medium and long term.
Labrak added, in statements to the electronic newspaper Hespress, that “Morocco is not worried about the European plan or its effects, and it will not be at the level of Europe’s energy needs, for the simple reason of the different climatic conditions”, explaining in in this regard: “Europe has reached the test of ensuring its energy supply sources”, so it needs more heating in winter with low temperatures and strong cold waves, which has led it to take measures to reduce the demand for gas in the face of its sanctions against Russia, noting that the European Union is striving to “re-ensure energy efficiency to previous levels”. The outbreak of war in Ukraine and avoid the test of next winter”.
The same energy expert added that “the demand for electricity will not decline in Morocco”, explaining that it is “a global rhythm that is heading towards an increase and growing demand for energy, especially after a gradual dependence on the electric car in many countries, noting in his conversation with Hespress that “Morocco works through many programs and institutions to achieve energy efficiency, especially in the public sector.”
Electricity consumption in Morocco
Amine Bennouna, a professor specializing in energy at the Cadi Ayyad University in Marrakech, frankly called for “a review of the national accounts in the field of energy, especially regarding the need to distinguish between production and production capacity”, explaining in his declarations to Hespress that “the goal is to reach 52 percent of the energy. Renewable means productive capacity, not production, as is customary in circulation and talks about the subject”.
Bennouna, who has accumulated experience and knowledge in the matter, added that “Morocco is a country that consumes energy, with an average rate of 1,100 kilowatt-hours per year for each Moroccan of net electricity”, pointing out figures that he considered indicative in this regard. . : “The net electrical energy produced through the network. It has experienced a slowdown in the rate of increase in consumption, and currently ranges between 1 and 2 percent, compared to 5 and 6 percent twenty years ago” .
Speaking to the newspaper, the energy expert recorded that consumption (amounting to 40,000 gigawatt hours) was approximately equal to 2021 production. However, this is due, according to Bennouna, to “the previous year, 2020, which follows being exceptional for periods of sanitary closure”.
Bennouna also praised the state’s efforts to generalize “rural electrification” and its tariffs, which were close to 100 percent, according to the latest available data, before warning that “the subscription tariff on the electricity network in towns and remote areas and semi-urban remains in the range of 85 percent, which means that 15 percent of Moroccan families have access to electricity connection, but do not benefit from it mainly due to social and material factors”.
At the end of his speech, the same speaker stressed the “need to scrutinize the terminology and concepts that circulate in the field of energy”, highlighting that Morocco, in general, “is on an upward trend in electricity consumption”, but it has not yet reached the level of countries like France, Spain or the United States.