Noura Alkhalili

Dirty or clean Energy: Upon whose terms? On renewable energy export from North Africa to Europe

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The existing literature on Renewable Energy export from North Africa to Europe has largely focused on future scenarios with emphasis on technological and economic innovations. This article investigates the current debates regarding electricity flow and potential trans-Mediterranean trade. The article’s starting point is the incident that occurred in early 2019 of energy export from Morocco to Spain, where there were accusations of Spain purchasing «dirty» energy from Morocco; this is used as a case study to outline some of the hurdles that prevent a scaling-up of the trade. This paper focuses on the power relations between Europe and the North African region through the lens of energy trade. Specifically, it exposes how politicians and decision makers represent their views in relation to each other. Moreover, the article problematises the whole argument around «clean» or «dirty» energy with regard to the illegal occupation of Western Sahara. The paper follows an ethnographic narrative approach and is based on in-depth interviews with high-level government officials from the Moroccan energy sector, as well as key representatives from the European Commission (EC) who work in the energy directorate


  • renewable energy
  • export
  • energy trade
  • Morocco
  • Spain


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