Energy markets in the Maghreb countries are expected to undergo significant changes over the upcoming years: energy consumption should increase by as much as 50% in the next ten years. Meanwhile plans are being developed to expand transmission networks between Maghreb and Europe. These expected developments coupled with declining oil reserves and large RE endowments observed in most Maghreb countries, are making the gradual increase of RE within the energy mix an increasingly appealing option. Algeria and Morocco have been investing in RE and lead the way, while Tunisia follows suit on a smaller scale. The situation in Libya is difficult due to the political and security situation; RE investments are still on a small scale. Overall, Morocco’s RE sector is the most advanced among Maghreb countries, and offers best conditions for producing solar and wind energy for the moment.
Efforts have also been deployed to expand RE production beyond the frontiers of the Maghreb countries. Large private and public energy projects such as Medgrid, the Mediterranean Solar Plan (MSP) or Desertec Industrial Initiative (Dii), aim – more or less successfully - at using the Sahara desert to produce important volumes of solar energy for export to the European markets. These projects sought to create a win-win situation for the Maghreb economies, for instance, by producing green energy for local consumers and developing the local green energy markets (including jobs, technology transfer, consumer behaviour, etc.). However, for the Maghreb countries it is more interesting to produce RE for local consumption rather than for export.