Construction has started on a new research centre for smart grids at the Green Energy Park in Ben Guerir in central Morocco.
The new research centre, an initiative of Morocco’s National Institute for Research in Solar Energy and New Energies (IRESEN), is aimed to support the development of the country’s renewable energy sector and smart grids.
The centre will be comprised of three main laboratories:
- a modelling, simulation and optimisation laboratory for electricity systems;
- a quality control network automation laboratory;
- and a microgrid, flow management and network analysis laboratory equipped to simulate and model the electricity network of a large city the size of Casablanca (population approximately 8 million in the urban and greater city areas).
“This platform will help boost research at the national level and attract other partners in the field,” said Aziz Rabbah, Morocco’s Minister of Energy, Mines and Environment at the groundbreaking.
“We will need several partners in the years to come, knowing that we are entering a new energy decade.”
The smart grid centre forms part of the Green Energy Park, which is being developed as a research, testing and training platform adjacent to the Mohammed VI Polytechnic University in Ben Guerir.
The platform, considered a first in Africa, is intended to create synergies between the various Moroccan research institutions, universities and industrial companies to create a critical mass to achieve excellence in its activities, its website states.
Facilities include solar PV, concentrated solar power and molten salt storage installations, which will provide a testing ground for the laboratory simulations.
The objective is to develop technological solutions adapted to the national and African context in order to support energy efficiency and to address issues related to the smart and sustainable city of tomorrow, a statement says.
This will help position Morocco as a continental hub for research and innovation in these fields.
The smart grid research centre and Green Energy Park is being supported by Morocco’s Ministry of Energy, Mines and the Environment and the state owned OCP mining group, with technical and additional financial support of $8 million from the Korea International Cooperation Agency (KOICA).