Report: Moroccan green energy used for plunder
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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.

Published 02 November 2016

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.

Download here the report Powering the Plunder – What Morocco and Siemens are hiding at COP22, Marrakech (2MB) [or download high resolution, 16 MB]

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. 

The report can also be downloaded in French, Spanish, German, Italian, Swedish, Danish

SRI update

The following overview enlists stock-exchange registered companies currently operating in Western Sahara. Updated 15 February 2024.

15 February 2024

GE Vernova plans green hydrogen project in occupied Western Sahara

A subsidiary of US company General Electric is partnering with the government of Morocco for an infrastructure project in the illegally occupied Western Sahara. 

15 February 2024

HDF uses Morocco campaigner to defend controversy

WSRW has never received a response that politically propagated the occupation to the degree as the one received from a French campaigner for Morocco on behalf of renewable energy company HDF Energy. 

09 February 2024

Why WSRW will not take part in EU's Western Sahara trade review

WSRW has been invited to contribute to an EU Commission document on trade with Moroccan interests in occupied Western Sahara. This is why we reject taking part. 

19 January 2024