Environment and climate change

Green Mosques and the transition to clean energy

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

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 cots 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. With the country’s mosques and their imams acting as key ambassadors for the scheduled transition to clean energy, 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 receive training to promote the transition to clean energy

On behalf of Germany’s Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ), the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH is supporting this Moroccan initiative with strategic advisory and training services. A key component of this project, which is being implemented as part of the Special Initiative on Stabilisation and Development of North Africa and the Middle East, focuses on enabling the private sector to deliver solutions for energy-efficiency and renewable energies itself in future. Given the lack of experts to date, the project has, 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 already resulted in some 262 new jobs.

To sensitise the population to this topic, imams and female clerics – mourchidates – are undergoing training in energy efficiency. The rationale behind this decision is that religious clerics have a high social standing in Morocco. In the interim, over 600 imams, mourchidates and officials from the Ministry of Habous and Islamic Affairs (31 per cent of them women) have already adopted arguments in favour of the transition to clean energy. By May 2021, more than 1,200 religious clerics are to have distributed 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 will distribute 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 will be installed at these ‘Green Mosques’. Energy costs for these mosques have been reduced by over 40 per cent. For the construction of new mosques, the project advocates for standards of energy efficiency to be included in public tenders. A new energy-efficient mosque was completed in Tadmamet, 40 kilometres from Marrakech in 2016.

Other institutions now want to follow the same model. The project now works with the Moroccan post, a body for student residences, and the ministries for energy and finance. The Moroccan post has already registered less consumption of energy in its 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 on the project is thus an investment in the future – particularly as, looking ahead, there are plans to optimize energy use in other buildings in Morocco or to construct new ones.

 

Last update: July 2019

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