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    Morocco Will "Manage Intermittency" with LNG, Power



Moroccan state power utility ONEE said in London last week that planned LNG infrastructure and gas-fired plants will manage future intermittency issues.

by: Mark Smedley

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Africa, Security of Supply, Carbon, Renewables, Gas to Power, Political, Ministries, Environment, Supply/Demand, Infrastructure, Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG), Pipelines, News By Country, Egypt, Morocco, Africa

Morocco Will "Manage Intermittency" with LNG, Power

A senior executive from Morocco’s pioneering state power and water utility ONEE told an event in London last week that planned LNG infrastructure and gas-fired power plants will enable the country to manage intermittency as it expands renewable capacity to over half of the installed mix in 2030.

Already in 2015, one-third of Morocco’s 8.3 GW installed capacity was renewable, but 56% was coal and heavy fuel oil (HFO), and just 10% gas.

ONEE launched its call last December for expressions of interest to develop an integrated gas-to-power project, comprising LNG regasification and storage capacity, gas pipelines, and combined-cycle power plants (CCGTs). On May 6 this year, it announced that 93 companies had responded.

Tariq Hamane, ONEE’s director of power generation projects and programmes, explained it to NGA on the margins of the Africa Energy Forum at London’s Docklands on June 24.

“It’s one integrated project: a 5bn m³/yr onshore LNG receiving terminal, pipelines and 2.4 GW of CCGTs -- so two plants, each of 1.2 GW. It’s a tender for them all, to select a consortium to develop this project.

“In terms of the timing of this process, we have received expressions of interest from 93 companies for this project. The target now is to launch the pre-qualification before the end of 2016, in order to have all the power projects operational in 2025.”

Hamane said he could not provide a specific date for a final investment decision, but “such a project requires over four or five years for construction, so it should be taken before 2020.”

Given that 93 players expressed an interest to develop the project, NGA asked Hamane which companies were involved. “All the big players are interested in this project,” he replied. Were Shell and Total among the 93? “Yes they were – and Japanese players,” replied Hamane.

ONEE reeled out the provenance of the 93 firms last month as Belgium, Brazil, China, Egypt, France, Germany, Greece, Italy, Japan, Netherlands, Pakistan, Qatar, Russia, Saudi Arabia, South Korea, Spain, Turkey, UAE, UK, and USA.

The list is widely believed to include, either separately or as part of consortia, many big European utilities like EDF and Engie, and many international LNG suppliers including US firm Cheniere.

Hamane’s London speech June 24 mentioned that the gas-to-power project is part of a programme by ONEE to add 6 GW of flexible, largely gas-fired, power generation capacity, 4 GW of interconnectors with neighbouring countries, and 2 GW of pumped hydro, all by 2030 so as “to manage the intermittency issues arising from the massive introduction of renewables in Morocco.”

Morocco’s forecast generation mix


installed capacity








8.3 GW








14 GW








25 GW







Source: National Office for Electricity and Drinking Water (ONEE); * actual/estimate

Morocco already has 1 GW of wind-power capacity on its grid, and a further 1 GW of wind capacity will be added by end-2016, said Hamane, reaching an all-in total of 2.5 GW wind by 2020.

Tariq Hamane, ONEE (image credit: Africa Energy Forum)

Tariq Hamane, ONEE (image credit: Africa Energy Forum)

The country had 13 independent power plants (IPPs), some gas but many renewable, totaling 5 GW installed capacity that had brought in $13bn of investment, said Hamane. Winning bids from IPPs to supply power to ONEE as cheaply as 3 US cents/kWh are said to be thanks to care in setting out the framework and implementation, he said.

A factory to make 6 GW of wind turbine blades was being built in Morocco and 80% of output will be exported. Many new IPPs will be for solar power and co-developed with Moroccan state solar investor Masen.

Masen’s NOOR plan seeks at least 2 GW of new solar IPPs between 2010 and 2020, costing $9bn, and reducing CO2 emissions by 3.7mn metric tons/yr. A few controversially are planned in the territory of Western Sahara – at Boujdour and Laayoune – annexed by Morocco in 1979.

Solar’s share of Morocco’s expanding installed generation mix is planned to rise tenfold from 2% in 2015 to 20% in 2030, with wind doubling over the same period to 20%, while hydro will ease back.

But ONEE also expects additional installed gas-fired capacity by 2030 – as dirtier fuels are displaced by a partnership of gas with renewables, with gas’s 10% share in 2015, easing to 6% in 2020, but then reaching 23% in 2030.

Morocco has made impressive progress in little more than a decade in expanding access to electricity, even among remote villages. The World Bank said that 49.2% of Moroccans had access to electricity in 1990 but that by 2012, everyone did. Hamane himself said that coverage had expanded in the past 18 years from just 18% of the population to 99% now, thanks to off-grid schemes – now including solar – provided by ONEE.


Mark Smedley | www.naturalgasafrica.com | www.naturalgaseurope.com