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Morocco and Tunisia’s energy transition policy and a national household survey

Introduction

Energy is an essential factor in the development of human activity, and its availability is of a strategic nature. Nowadays, countries around the world face the same challenge: provide enough energy to fuel economic growth with optimal social and environmental outcomes. Therefore, energy must be affordable, secure, and clean.

Moreover, each country is in a different stage of development which makes their energy system and needs incomparable. For instance, developing countries that are primary energy importers, taken separately, are suffering the full brunt of the dramatic impact of rising energy costs and, for the most part, feel helpless in the face of this phenomenon, which weighs more heavily on their development. In fact, the world has entered a phase of energy insecurity combining geography location of resources, market laws, development needs, environmental constraints and political stability.

This concern justifies political actions to reduce the energy content of economic growth or to modify the consumption structure of energy by placing more emphasis on renewable energies and energy efficiency measures. Especially as awareness of the global limits of the availability of certain primary energy sources such as the fossil fuels is raising amongst decision makers and civil society as well as the recognition of global climate change as a serious threat that needs to be tackled.

As part of the North African countries with no natural oil resources, Morocco is the largest energy importer in the region (Amegroud, 2015). As the population number of Morocco is growing and sectoral economic development is happening, social impacts such as the electricity price rise for vulnerable people and environmental degradation due to fossil fuel importation threaten the country’s sustainable energy security in the context of global competitivity. This dependency on energy imports makes Morocco highly vulnerable to increases in international fuel prices, putting a heavy fiscal burden on the national budget (T. Kouskous & Al, 2015).

Therefore, renewable energies can make North African countries, including Morocco, less fuel import dependent (N. Supersberger and L. Führer, 2011). Despite the relevance of the current energy policy, according to (K. Choukri & Al., 2017), barriers obstructing further renewable energy development in the country were still present, including the lack of accessible financial support for small scale projects. In addition, Current energy efficiency measures will however not be enough to meet energy and climate objectives (IEA, 2019). Knowing that with a 25% share of final consumption, the building’s sector is one of the major energy consumers and its consumption is set to increase further in the future years (I. Fellak & Al., 2017). Thus, households are a major actor in the energy transition goals Morocco is targeting, and their inclusion is indispensable to accelerate its effectiveness. “though not yet overly explored area of renewable energy deployment in Morocco (…) A high uptake rate of PV rooftop installations can, as in the German case, contribute significantly towards national goals » (El-Katiri, 2016).

Furthermore, policies that support fossil-fuel consumption make it difficult for renewable technologies to compete (IISD, 2014). Butane gas, largely used by households (cooking and heating water) and agriculture (pumping), remains subsidised while no subsidies or incentives exist to use cleaner alternative sources.

A review of the available literature shows that research has been focusing on the national targets of Morocco’s energy transition which are mainly important solar and wind plants that are centrally managed and only mentioning briefly the absence of liberalization of renewable energy production to other micro-level actors such as households. Therefore, the goal of this report is to review the implementation of the policy since its launch by, firstly, a global review on energy transition in the context of climate change and sustainable development; Secondly, a benchmarking between Morocco and Tunisia’s energy transition policies and achievements; And finally, a focus on Morocco’s energy transition which will identify challenges in regard to sustainability and inclusivity of households.

Table of Content

3 Summary

3 Introduction

5 I.Definition of a sustainable energy transition

7 II.The benchmarking of energy systems using the Energy Transition Index (ETI)

7 The ETI as an assessment tool

7 The analytical framework of ETI

8 ETI analysis and Benchmarking of Morocco and Tunisia

11 III.Morocco’s energy policy and its challenges: sustainability and inclusivity

11 Energy policy’s impact on greenhouse gas emissions

11 Energy demand

12 Energy Subsidies

15 IV. Recommendations

15 A.Phasing out of Butane gas subsidy

15 B.Maximizing the renewable energy penetration by decentralizing electricity production

16 C.Encouraging energy efficiency measures to reduce energy consumption at the household level

17 Conclusion

17 References

About the Author

Mouna is an international development programme manager with an experience with bilateral international development and cooperation agencies such as GIZ and the Swiss Development Cooperation (SDC) as well as multilateral organizations such UNIDO and FAO. Her areas of expertise include Energy, Climate Change,Climate Finance, Natural Resource Management, DRR, youth employment and gender mainstreaming. Her geographical scope includes the African continent (French and English speaking African countries: Bénin, Burkina Faso, Capo Verde, Ghana, Tunisia, Kenya and Zambia).

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