At COP22, beware of what you read about Morocco’s renewable energy efforts. An increasing part of the projects take place in the occupied territory of Western Sahara and is used for mineral plunder, new WSRW report documents.
An increasing part of the renewable energy programmes that Morocco is promoting – even on the official COP22 website – are not taking place in Morocco at all, but in Western Sahara, which it illegally and brutally occupies.
Both the Moroccan government and a handful of renewable energy companies will actively market their efforts for the development of green energy solutions during the COP22 climate talks in Marrakech, 7-18 November 2016.
22 newly built mills by the German company Siemens supply 95% of the energy required for the highly controversial plunder of non-renewable minerals from Western Sahara. The green energy production is making Morocco’s plunder of the territory even more lucrative.
By 2020, more than a quarter of all Morocco’s green energy production will be located in the territory it holds under foreign occupation, a new WSRW report documents.
Siemens and the Italian company Enel are those most heavily involved. They win Moroccan tenders in Western Sahara by partnering with the energy company owned by the king of Morocco.
"When the Moroccan royal palace – which regulates the energy market – receives large energy contracts in the territory, it comes at a high price for the UN peace process in Western Sahara", stated Erik Hagen of Western Sahara Resource Watch.
“By exporting the energy to Morocco proper, the country and the royal family anchors its connection to the territory. Would the king be interested in a process of self-determination and decolonisation in Western Sahara when he, himself, is benefiting from the Moroccan army’s illegal presence there?”, stated Hagen.
The legal owner of the land, the Saharawi people, have never consented to the Moroccan projects. Half of the territory’s original population has fled the country since Morocco invaded it in 1975. Leading opponents of socio-economic marginalisation of the Saharawis are serving life sentences in Moroccan jails.
This report details how Morocco plans to build over 1000 MW (megawatts) of renewable energy plants in Western Sahara. As of today, the controversial energy production from solar and wind sources in Western Sahara constitutes at most 7 percent of Morocco’s total energy production from such sources. By 2020, the amount could be increased to an astonishing 26.4 percent.
Western Sahara Resource Watch demands the involved companies to terminate such infrastructure projects in Western Sahara with the Moroccan government, in order to not lay obstacles to the UN peace process.
Morocco occupies the major part of its neighbouring country, Western Sahara. Entering into business deals with Moroccan companies or authorities in the occupied territories gives an impression of political legitimacy to the occupation. It also gives job opportunities to Moroccan settlers and income to the Moroccan government. Western Sahara Resource Watch demands foreign companies leave Western Sahara until a solution to the conflict is found.
It's not easy keeping up with all the different legal proceedings relating to Western Sahara. For the sake of clarity, here's an overview of the five different cases at the Court of Justice of the European Union.