The trade winds that blow along the Atlantic coast from Morocco to Senegal represent one of the largest and most productive wind potentials available on earth. Because of the erratic nature of winds however, wind electricity cannot be integrated locally on any significant scale, unless mechanisms are developed for storing these intermittent renewable energies. Wind-electrolysis for the production of hydrogen can be used in grid stabilization, as power storage, fuel or chemical feedstock in specific industries. Initiated by industry, this project is end-user driven and seeks to demonstrate the potential for synergies emerging from sustainable carbon free energy technologies and their related economies. The utilization of wind energy and electrolysis bi-products is likely to reinforce significantly the value added processing of Morocco and Mauritania’s main extractive mining industries (Phosphates and Iron-ore respectively) in providing most environmentally friendly solutions.
Tackling the consequences of climate change, environmental degradations and rampant desertification on largely agricultural based societies currently under high demographic pressure is a key social priority, as they generate economic distress. This can lead to mass migration which constitutes a significant security threat to the stability of the region and that of NATO countries.
Developing alternative wind energy solutions to feed smaller electricity markets are essential for solving decentralized energy access issues and enable the development of local, viable industries. These can address employment and economic challenges that the region's is currently faced with, besides the additional social pressure exerted from Sub-Saharan migrant populations.
The involvement of NATO to assist local academia to support, sensitize and train capacities necessary to develop upstream renewable energy alternatives is relevant to the Alliance’s strategic challenges. Besides reinforcing collaborative mechanism with its Mediterranean dialogue partners, the objective of NATO is to support the development of cleaner technologies that can address energy security and the need to diversify away from fossil fuel resources and their related infrastructures.