Morocco is experiencing a gradual increase in its aridity and the decrease in average annual rainfall in the country could continue, especially in a high emission scenario, hence the need to strengthen climate resilience, according to a recent report by the International Energy Agency (IEA).
In its country report dubbed “Climate Resilience for Morocco’s Energy Transition”, the IEA reports that the average annual temperature in the Kingdom has increased over the past decades, particularly during the hottest and driest months, c ie from April to June.
Climate projections indicate that this trend of rising temperatures will continue until the end of the century, with more frequent, intense and widespread heat waves, the agency says.
The study indicates that this will lead to a significant increase in energy demand for air conditioning, which could increase Morocco’s dependence on regional interconnections. In addition, heat waves can impact the transmission efficiency and energy production of solar PV and wind power plants.
In addition, the IEA reported that Morocco is experiencing an increase in aridity and it is likely that the decrease in average annual rainfall will continue, especially in the event of high emissions. As for climate projections, these show that more frequent and severe droughts could occur in the central and southern regions of the Kingdom.
Moreover, these climatic conditions can have direct consequences on two important energy sources, namely hydropower and coal. Coal-fired hydro and thermal power plants, which require large amounts of water for power generation and cooling, are likely to be disrupted by reduced rainfall and increased frequency of droughts.
Faced with these challenges, Morocco has already taken action to reduce its dependence on water resources, the report recalls. Indeed, the country is turning to technologies that consume less water, such as pumped hydropower storage and natural gas-fired combined cycle power plants. These initiatives aim to guarantee the continuity of energy production while reducing the water footprint of the sector.
In particular, it should be noted that the energy sector plays a central role in Morocco’s overall climate change strategy. With a focus on expanding renewable electricity generation, the country aims to increase its share from 17.6% in 2020 to 52% by 2030.
Thus, it is essential to recognize the growing importance of building the climate resilience of renewable energy technologies, which are often weather-sensitive and may be vulnerable to the effects of climate change. Despite notable progress in adaptation and resilience policies in sectors such as water, agriculture, biodiversity and fisheries, the issue of climate resilience in the energy sector has been relatively less discussed.
To ensure a climate-resilient energy transition in Morocco, the first step will be to establish a sector plan dedicated to the energy sector, recommends the IEA. This sector plan could include concrete actions such as a comprehensive assessment of climate impacts, the development of specialized plans for high-risk areas, the assessment of the effect of diversification on the energy mix and the transition to water-efficient and heat-resistant technologies.
According to the Specialized Energy Agency, the development of specific strategies for the energy sector in the face of different types of climate risks could support the continued functioning of energy systems in the face of climate-related disasters.