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Electricity: What Morocco exports

The shedding period is a distant memory. Morocco has become an exporter of electricity to Spain and Algeria. For the moment, it matters more than it exports. In 2017, electricity exports to Spain amounted to 10.180 GWh against 5.745 GWh imported. The 10.180 GWh corresponds to the consumption of a village. With the completion of the renewable energy strategy aimed at varying the energy mix, exports are expected to increase.

Electricity imports from Algeria reached 302,311 GWh against 153,201 GWh exported. Between Morocco and Algeria, the exchange “is zero balance”. It allows the assistance of the two networks by pooling the rotating reserve between the two countries.

This is the first time that these figures are provided by the Ministry of Energy. Those of 2018 have not yet been arrested.

Imports and exports of electricity are based on the principle of the cheapest cost. The supply is made to the Spanish market when the cost of production is more interesting than in Morocco. It exports when it has a surplus that can not be consumed by local demand.

Morocco is connected to Spain via an interconnection with a total exchange capacity of 1.400 MW via two submarine cables. The first was commissioned in 1997. The second in 2006. Electricity exchanges are operated between the two countries by the ONEE, Moroccan side, and the Red Electrica de Espana, Spanish side.

The Moroccan energy company operates on the spot market in Spain, where it has the status of Spanish market agent. A status that allows it to sell and buy electricity on this market according to its availability and cost.

Morocco is also interconnected with Algeria by two 225 kV power lines. With a capacity of 200 MW each, they were respectively commissioned in 1988 and 2006. A third 400 kV was installed in 2009. This brings the capacity of exchange between the two countries to 1.200 MW.

In the case of the Moroccan-Algerian interconnection, it is rather an exchange that comes within a framework of mutual assistance between ONEE and Sonelgaz, intended to ensure the security of supply and the stability of the networks.

Exportable surplus

How is it that Morocco manages to release a surplus of exportable electricity? According to the Ministry of Energy, this capacity is attributed to the “plan of equipment in means of production based on the forecasts of the demand”. “This could be satisfied even if only local means of production are used.” This indicates a capacity for self-sufficiency in the production of electrical energy.

“Thus, the exchange with Spain is done on the basis of an economic arbitration on the cost of the kWh of the various domestic means of production and the cost of the kWh of Spanish origin. This makes it possible to optimize the national production fleet, whatever the reserve that the Moroccan electricity system possesses “, explains the Ministry of Energy.

Last February, Morocco and Spain signed a memorandum of understanding in the field of electricity. The agreement concerns the establishment of a third interconnection between the two countries to increase the commercial exchange capacity from 900 MW to 1.550 MW.

Another electrical interconnection project, with a capacity of 1.000 MW this time between Morocco and Portugal, is on the agenda. Launched in May 2017 by DNVGL, the feasibility study of the project is in the final phase.

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