Environment and climate change: Green Mosques: for clean energy

Morocco is using energy-efficient technology in mosques to mitigate climate change.

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Green Mosques: for clean energy

To combat climate change, Morocco’s Government is advocating greater energy efficiency and the use of renewable energies. The country’s mosques and their Islamic clerics are helping to make people recognise the benefits of saving energy.

There are around 52,000 mosques in Morocco and the Moroccan Ministry of Habous and Islamic Affairs foots the bill for some 15,000 of them – The ministry, which builds around 150 additional mosques every year, aims to substantially reduce costs while raising citizens’ awareness of the benefits of renewable energies and energy efficiency. By 2030, Morocco intends to source 52 per cent of its electricity from renewable energy. The country’s mosques and their imams are acting as key ambassadors for the scheduled transition to clean energy. Against this backdrop, Morocco’s Ministry of Habous and Islamic Affairs has joined forces with the Ministry of Energy, Mines and Sustainable Development and two other state-owned partners to launch a scheme targeting the nationwide energy-efficient modification of the country’s mosques. This move is to create a new market for energy services and more jobs in the fields of energy efficiency and renewable energies, including corresponding basic and further training for experts.

Experts and multipliers: trained to promote the transition to clean energy

On behalf of Germany’s Development Ministry (BMZ), the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH supported this Moroccan initiative with strategic advisory and training services. A key component of this project focused on enabling the private sector to deliver solutions for energy-efficiency and renewable energies itself in future. Given the lack of experts, the project for example, targeted freelancers in Agadir and Tangier in a bid to train them to develop and market energy projects for public and private customers. Project activities have resulted in more than 290 new jobs.

To sensitise the population to this topic, imams and female clerics – mourchidates –underwent training in energy efficiency. The rationale behind this decision was that religious clerics have a high social standing in Morocco. Over 700 imams, mourchidates and officials from the Ministry of Habous and Islamic Affairs (31 per cent of them women) have adopted arguments in favour of the transition to clean energy. The clerics distribute their new knowledge in their communities, for example via their sermons. To achieve this, the ministry has drawn up guidelines with religion-based arguments promoting energy efficiency and wider use of renewable energies that it has distributed to the country’s imams and mourchidates.

Energy-efficient design and technologies for mosques

At the same time, and by way of an initial measure, more than 100 mosques have been fitted with energy-efficient technologies. For example, energy-saving lighting systems and solar water-heating plants have been installed at these ‘Green Mosques’. Energy costs for these mosques have been reduced by over 40 per cent. An energy-efficient mosque was completed in Tadmamet, 40 kilometres from Marrakech in 2016.

Other institutions followed the same model. The project has worked with the Moroccan post, a body for student residences, and the ministries for energy and finance. These four partners have already registered a 15 per cent reduction in energy consumption in their buildings.

This work to modernize buildings for more energy efficiency is being carried out by Moroccan companies. The energy entrepreneur Yassine Alj is among those who have benefited from this experience. ‘We have been able to improve our work in the field of energy efficiency in public buildings and so become more internationally competitive, too.’ For the Moroccan companies, working in this area is thus an investment in the future.

Last update: November 2023

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