Yassine Alj, Energy entrepreneur from Morocco
By the year 2030, Morocco aims to meet more than 50 per cent of its domestic energy needs from renewable sources and to create jobs in the field of energy-efficiency. As part of the Special Initiative MENA North Africa/Middle East by Germany's Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ), GIZ is assisting Morocco to modernise energy use in the country's mosques. Almost 900 hundred mosques are now “green”, and more than 1150 imams and female clerics have undergone training in raising environmental awareness. At the same time, more than 290 jobs have been created with the help of the project. For GIZ, this also means working with Moroccan entrepreneurs, like the young Yassine Alj – with great results!
How do you rate the situation in Morocco with regard to energy supply?
Morocco is more than 93 per cent dependent on the import of fossil fuels and electricity. Between 2000 and 2012, energy consumption in Morocco almost quadrupled. Given that the biggest energy consumers have not changed their ways in spite of the excessive power bills, I really wanted to show that it’s possible to do things differently. After all, the solutions are already on hand!
How is business in the energy services sector in Morocco?
Things were tough at the start, but in the meantime our business has begun to pick up. There's a lot of potential in the field of renewable energies and energy efficiency. Cooperating with GIZ on pilot projects like the 'Green Mosques' has enabled us to improve our experience with public buildings and so become more internationally competitive, too.
What part did Ecotaqa play in the 'Green Mosques' project?
To get the 'Green Mosque' project going, we conducted inventories in fourteen mosques in Agadir. We recorded the precise amount of energy used – the illuminated surface areas and the number of light bulbs etc. But the mosques are just the starting point for disseminating energy efficiency measures in other public buildings, too.
What other activities have you implemented together with GIZ?
We've conducted energy audits, i.e. on-site energy consultations, in eleven faculties at the University of Ibn Zohr. And we worked with GIZ on web videos to raise awareness of energy efficiency. I'm convinced that the transition to clean energy depends greatly on helping people understand how energy is used. In my opinion, people nowadays are more aware of the potential of renewable energies than five years ago, the demand is increasing.
How do you envisage your future?
Personally, I'd like to visit as many cities in the world as I can. Professionally, I've taken on a lot of responsibility: I've created s18 jobs in all. Some of my employees are fathers and in the process of building a future for their families. I would like to secure a steady income for my workforce by acquiring new projects. I've got a lot of plans: I want to continue to expand my know-how and make my mark on my generation.