Europe plans massive installation of solar panels in Morocco

A report published in January by the International Renewable Energy Agency cited Morocco as the country closest to Europe and best positioned to produce green hydrogen.   

 Having decided to wean itself off both Russian fossil fuels and fossil fuels in general, the EU has had to turn to other energy sources, making green hydrogen a pillar of its plan.   

 Several recent studies have pointed to the African continent, and Morocco in particular, as the closest and cheapest source of green hydrogen. As a sign of this major gamble, the European Commission has signed a pact with the Kingdom to invest millions in the production of this fuel to be exported from the Mediterranean region to Europe.   

 In December 2022, the European Investment Bank published a study that said Africa deserves an investment of 1,000 billion euros in green hydrogen.    

“The new study combines analysis of investment opportunities, focusing on four clusters: Mauritania, Morocco, Southern Africa and Egypt, with a roadmap of technical, economic, environmental and financial solutions to unlock commercial development,” a press release said.    

The study, jointly led by the European Investment Bank, the International Solar Alliance, the African Union, the Mauritanian government, the HyDeal trade association and United Cities and Local Governments of Africa (UCLG Africa), found that the continent could produce 50 million tons of green hydrogen per year by 2035 at a price of €2 per kg or less, which is considered economically viable.   

 Green hydrogen could, according to the study, make the continent an international energy powerhouse. “Africa can ensure access to clean and sustainable energy on the continent and become a global energy player through green hydrogen exports,” the report says.   

 However, achieving this goal will require pilot projects to demonstrate the successful production, storage, distribution and use of green hydrogen at demonstration and commercial scale. 

  Despite the huge infrastructure requirements, a study published on January 24, 2023, by energy consultancy Aurora found that, in the near future, importing green hydrogen will be Europe’s best option for supplying “clean” fuel, as it would be cheaper to buy it from other countries than to produce it on the continent. Based on German models, the study cites Australia, Chile, Morocco and the United Arab Emirates as the best supply countries, even taking into account transportation costs.   

 According to the same source, all of these countries have high potential for renewable energy production and are attracting developer interest in hydrogen export projects. The levelized cost of hydrogen production at a representative site in each of these countries in 2030 is below the production cost range of Germany, amounting to EUR 3.1/kgH2 in Australia and Chile, EUR 3.2/kgH2 in Morocco and EUR 3.6/kgH2 in the UAE.    

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