Energy consumption is expected to triple in Morocco as a result of the country’s economic growth and fast urbanization. Yet, Morocco remains extremely dependent on fossil fuel imports. With a 96 per cent dependence rate in 2012, Morocco’s energy system is highly reliant on imported coal, oil and gas, and electricity from Spain. Due to its very strong reliance on imported energy, the Government of Morocco has set ambitious goals to increase energy efficiency, contributing to Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) target 7.3.
Furthermore, by 2050, 70 per cent of the country’s population will be urban, adding about 10 million people to Moroccan cities. Cities use a great deal of energy, and as Morocco urbanizes, one area of clear need is for municipal authorities to lead efforts to upgrade public street lighting for better energy efficiency.
Towards a Solution
Understanding that it could benefit from a knowledge exchange focused on municipal sectors and energy efficiency, the Moroccan Ministry of Energy, Mines and Sustainable Development asked to meet with countries that had implemented urban energy- efficiency projects. To inform the design of Morocco’s new Energy Efficiency project, the Moroccans wanted to learn about initiatives that enable city authorities to achieve tangible, short- to medium-term, market-ready energy efficiency investments. In response, the World Bank team in charge of the project used a grant from the South- South Experience Exchange Facility (South-South Facility) to organize a knowledge exchange with Mexican experts who had recently completed urban energy use reforms. The long-term goal of the initiative was to make Moroccan cities more energy- efficient by improving public street lighting.
The knowledge exchange started with a video-conference to help participants identify knowledge gaps, clarify goals for a study visit, and agree on learning objectives. For the main part of the knowledge exchange, a delegation from Morocco visited Mexico. On both the Mexican and Moroccan sides, participants were all directly involved in the preparation and implementation of energy efficiency projects. The 12 Moroccan participants in the exchange came from various departments and state-owned enterprises involved in energy efficiency and public lighting. The participants from Mexico were selected to closely match their Moroccan counterparts. The knowledge providers were management and staff from the Mexican power utility (CFE), who had developed the national efficient public lighting programme in coordination with the national agency for energy efficiency (CONUEE) and the local development bank (BANOBRAS). Officials from the Mexican Secretariat of Energy (SENER) also provided valuable energy efficiency policy guidance. World Bank Energy Specialists based in Rabat and Mexico City organized the exchange between the two Governments.
A dissemination workshop in Rabat hosted by the Moroccan Ministry of General Affairs and Governance followed the exchange in June 2016.
The following results were achieved from this exchange:
- New knowledge: The exchange allowed Morocco to learn from another developing country with similar energy challenges related to lighting strategies and programmes. Moroccans learned about the Mexican energy sector, Mexico’s energy efficiency programme, its new energy transition model, the Mexican Efficient Lighting Programme, the major reforms conducted in August 2014, the establishment of a green certificate market, and the choices made by Mexico related to pricing electricity and production and transport costs.
- Enhanced skills: The exchange strengthened Morocco’s technical and operational skills related to energy efficiency programmes. The Moroccans learned from Mexico’s strategy with regard to financing and facilitating investment in energy efficiency and public lighting, standardizing energy efficiency codes, disseminating good practices, and centralizing data on sector energy intensity. The Moroccans also learned about Mexico’s actions in protecting the environment and reducing the impact of climate change.
- Enhanced connectivity: The resulting partnership helped strengthen Moroccan capabilities for implementing efficient public lighting.
- New and improved actions: Enhanced knowledge and skills from the knowledge exchange informed the preparation and design of the Moroccan National Lighting Transformation Programme launched in December 2016 and completed in April 2018. With World Bank assistance, the Government of Morocco carried out a detailed review of the public lighting sector as part of a strategy to deploy public- private partnership (PPP) approaches to upgrade public lighting across the country. After the exchange, Moroccan officials involved in energy efficiency were trained on how to increase the number of feasibility studies in cities throughout Morocco. For example, the city of Marrakech completed a preliminary assessment of some municipal services’ energy performance in the context of the COP22 Conference for Climate Change in 2016.
Organizing learning exchanges between countries in similar development conditions is highly beneficial because they face similar challenges and opportunities. Participants can learn a great deal from both success and failure stories. However, there is no ”one-size-fits-all” solution for promoting energy efficiency: each country can learn from the experiences of other countries and adapt according to their context.
To replicate this good practice, a strong champion and political will at the highest level are needed to deploy energy efficiency national programmes. Strong leadership is called for to coordinate relevant local and foreign stakeholders. The financing support of international institutions is not a prerequisite per se, but performance-based incentives can be highly persuasive when it comes to convincing leaders on the importance of promoting energy efficiency.