Economies of scale: Growing energy efficiency know-how in Morocco

Industries, such as mining, textiles and mineral manufacturing, make a significant contribution to the Moroccan economy. But the Moroccan industrial sector is almost entirely dependent on fossil fuel imports. For the country to meet its 2030 commitments to slash greenhouse gas emissions, around half of these reductions will need to come from industry.

To help get there, Morocco is taking steps to expand training on industrial energy efficiency (IEE) on a large enough scale to make a meaningful difference.

Knowing how to adopt energy efficient technology and management practices is one of the most effective things industrial businesses can do to reduce their energy use and carbon emissions, and slash their operational costs. As the European Union and other parts of the world begin introducing tariffs on the emissions of imported products, energy efficiency is fast becoming key to keeping, or even enhancing, competitive edge.

“The demand for [energy efficiency] training has absolutely grown”, says Samir Mohammad Hassan Aly, an international expert on industrial energy efficiency who is helping to deliver the training. “Business people in Morocco are very well aware of what’s happening in industry and what’s happening in Europe, and what’s happening in the environment in general, and they are striving, very strongly, to find ways to cope with and conform with requirements.”

Building Morocco’s industrial energy efficiency expertise

The first UNIDO-supported IEE training in Morocco took place in 2019, in partnership with the Moroccan Agency for Energy Efficiency, the Ministry of the Energy Transition and Sustainable Development and the Ministry of Industry and Trade. In Casablanca, Morocco’s industrial hub, 18 ‘flagship companies’, 13 energy consultants and 9 government officials embarked on the globally-recognised, year-long EnMS course, the first cohort in the country to do so.

This year, the training programme is back and bigger than before. The EnMS course is now running in Tangier as well as Casablanca to a group of 30 in each city with three out of the four modules now complete. Alongside this, new entry-level and expert-level courses on steam systems optimization (SSO) and motor systems optimization (MSO) are running, with 44 participants undertaking the MSO course and 37 the SSO course. The user-level sessions are now fully delivered and the expert-level courses will be completed by December 2024. Around one in five participants are women.

“Today it’s not a luxury to optimize energy… it has become a necessity,” says Sanae Lahlou, UNIDO Country Representative in Morocco. “A few years ago this was only something that big companies were engaging with. Today, even the small and medium enterprises understand [its importance]…But it’s not only about having the will, it’s also a question of having the know-how.”

Laying the foundations for a long-term programme

Efforts are now underway to ensure the training continues as a long-term government initiative after the UNIDO programme finishes in 2024.

National consultants are being recruited to learn how to deliver each IEE course. In 2024, two EnMS groups in two new cities, will run. And for the first time, national consultants will run the trainings on EnMS and SSO, supported by international facilitators.

“This will help to guarantee the sustainability and the continuity of the programme,” explains Samir. “The national consultants are trained by the international consultants, using the same programme, the same materials…They will have the experience and the means to be able to continue [delivering the training] on the same level as the international consultants, while also adding the flavour of the local experience, which is important.”

Including government staff as training participants is also helping to lay the foundations for a long-term programme.

Samir adds: “The idea of embedding this in government systems has been there from the start. Candidates from government agencies attend all our training and they participate fully – if there are exams, they take exams… When it comes to them continuing and overseeing the training programme, they will know already what the details are.”

A focus on finance

But for a large-scale, government-run IEE training programme to become a reality in Morocco, sustainable funding will be needed. Work on a funding mechanism to support industrial decarbonization in Morocco, including through training, is now a major focus for the Ministry of Industry and UNIDO. Efforts are underway to establish how the funding mechanism will operate and to raise financing for it, which will come from the Moroccan government and a range of other public and private sources, both within Morocco and internationally.

Sanae says: “If we see this programme as a necessity for Moroccan industrial development, then each one of us – the private sector, the public sector, the institutional federations, the financial institutions – every one of us will have to play a role in ensuring the future of this energy efficiency programme. We can’t see it as a one-shot training, it really has to be sustainable and collaborative to work.”

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