Great potential Small holding

Great potential Small holding

“Large capacities in renewable energies but little or less exploited”, this is what emerges from the latest report of the African Energy Chamber, on the energy market on the continent, published recently. Morocco is no exception. It is one of the top 5 countries with enormous potential in terms of solar, wind and hydrogen, but its ability to exploit these resources leaves something to be desired.

Abundant resources

Entitled: “The State of African Energy Q1 2023 Outlook”, this report reveals that “total announced renewable energy capacity in Africa is currently slightly above 375 GW” while specifying that “more than three quarters of this is currently at the concept stage and just over 5% are in operation”. “This suggests great potential with even greater upside as more operators and investors enter the continent with a focus on clean energy and energy transition, but few are currently contributing to energy needs. of Africa. This also assumes significant infrastructure needs requiring equally high investments, ”underlines the document.

The latter indicates that the geographical distribution suggests that “more than half of the announced capacity is located in North Africa and, apart from Mauritania in the west and South Africa in the south, the exposure of the rest of Sub-Saharan Africa’s advertised renewable energy capacity is relatively much lower. In addition to Mauritania and South Africa, announced wind capacity in Nigeria, overall capacity in Djibouti and promising growth in hydrogen capacity in Namibia complement major renewable energy investments in Sub-Saharan Africa.”

In this regard, the authors of the said report forecast that “the continent is expected to experience strong growth in renewable energy capacity from 2025. Solar and wind are expected to drive capacity as well as annual growth in the future. Nearly 80% of 2023 capacity is powered by solar and wind; and that increases to around 85% by 2025. Average cumulative solar and wind capacity from 2026 to 2030 is expected to be close to 80% of total capacity over the period. While hydrogen capacity will increase during the 2030s, the average combined solar and wind capacity is expected to be close to 75% of total capacity over the period 2031 – 2035”.

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A continent rich in solar, wind and hydrogen

In detail, the document explains that “the total announced capacity in wind energy is estimated at nearly 134 GW”. Nearly half of this comes from Egypt, Morocco and Mauritania, which represent just over 30% of total capacity. South Africa and Djibouti complete the top 5 countries with announced wind capacity and a cumulative capacity of around 15.5 GW. These five countries account for 90% of the current total wind capacity in Africa. More than 75% of current wind capacity is still in the design phase and only around 7% is in operation.

Solar power in Africa ranks second after wind power with the current announced capacity of 120 GW. Also announced solar capacity, similar to wind capacity in Africa, is dominated by Egypt – 27.86 GW capacity, Morocco – 22.11 GW capacity and Mauritania – 13.315 GW capacity. These three countries total more than 50% of the solar capacity in Africa. Nigeria and South Africa with 11.1 GW and 9.97 GW of capacity respectively complete the top 5 African countries in terms of announced solar capacity. Nearly 96.3 GW (~80% of total) is currently in the design phase and approximately 10.75 GW (~9% of total capacity) is in operation.

Regarding the electrolyser pipelines in Africa, their total announced capacity is 112 GW, of which about 40% is linked to North African countries. The continent’s potential, however, goes beyond the North, with sub-Saharan Africa harboring many prospects for green hydrogen development. This region has a reported electrolyser pipeline of around 68 GW, with Mauritania claiming over 50% of this total, followed by South Africa and Namibia. Namibia’s green hydrogen sector is poised to grow following recent export deals with Germany and South Korea, while neighboring and regional powerhouse South Africa holds around 90% of the world’s reserves of platinum group metals, which are essential for the manufacture of electrolysers with polymer electrolyte membranes. “With the recent unveiling of the European Union’s Green Deal industrial plan, which aims to promote the development of renewable energy and hydrogen in Africa, the continent is ready to welcome foreign investment in clean energy. [EO1] in the years to come,” the report states.

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Natural gas, a promising sector

On another note, the African Energy Chamber document notes that “conservative estimates suggest that Africa’s current natural gas potential is close to 16 trillion m3. This includes an 11% “undiscovered” potential, but this may be higher depending on the amount of unexplored and underexplored land both onshore and offshore Africa. An increase in this volume will significantly increase the overall reserve potential,” he says. And to conclude: “The 51% of “discovered” reserves are the “stranded” or currently undeveloped reserves in the pre-FEED (front-end engineering and design) volumes and, in some cases, pre-assessment or technical pre-assessment which are estimated as future FID (Final Investment Decision). This is a large part of the global potential that is in a phase where even a possible development scheme has yet to be conceptualized and ultimately finalized”.

Hassan Bentaleb

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