Prof. Khalid Benhamou
Managing Director
Sahara Wind
32 Av. Lalla Meryem Souissi Rabat, 10170 - Maroc

Implementing the Paris Agreement beyond Marrakech COP22: greening the world’ s largest fertilizer industries


At 2.8 €cent/kWh with up to 70% of total investments spent in local contents Morocco’ s 850 MW integrated wind energy program set a world record. With a local rotor blade factory serving regional markets on the Tanger-Med hub as part of industrial offsetting policies, the country leveraged its wind energy experience quite well. Public and private wind developments backed by local banks through Morocco’ s Renewable Energy Law 13-09 will open significant opportunities for extractive industries to match their power needs. Home to 75% of the World’ s Phosphates reserves which have been deposited from the exceptional Atlantic Trade Winds through the ages, Morocco’ s phosphate fertilizer industry is second only to China’ s. With the saturation of its North-Eastern provinces, China’ s future wind developments are likely to expand geographically into the South where the world’ s largest fertilizer industry is located. A unique opportunity opens-up for the world’ s fertilizer giants to integrate cheap wind-electricity into their energy-intensive fossil fuel-based processes. This will pave the way into a new sustainability era encompassing eco-responsible fertilizers, wind energy storage and renewable hydrogen likely to consolidate today’ s green electro-mobility revolution. With an interconnected grid to significant power markets, China’ s global industrial leadership coupled to Morocco’ s chairmanship of the Marrakech COP 22 conference will make inclusive industrial renewable energy policies a matter of utmost importance.


Khalid Benhamou (B.S. Engineering 1992, Cal Poly, USA) started his career in agricultural operations which rapidly led to wind power developments. While in charge of Research & Innovation at the “Direction des Domaines Agricoles” - the agricultural assets of the king of Morocco- from 1992-2001, he installed Morocco’ s first hybrid wind/diesel system in the Sahara desert in 1994. His involvement in wind energy has since never faltered. As developer and founder of Sahara Wind Inc. in 2002, he supported early-on the vision of large integrated wind energy developments to build the Sahara Wind project. This large wind energy and HVDC transmission project was submitted to multilateral institution in 2005, for which regional capacity building funding has been provided. The project’ s phased implementation with a threshold capacity of 400-500 MW is aimed at supplying over 5 GW of green electricity to North Africa while enabling excess power to be exchanged with Euro-Mediterranean and Sub-Saharan electricity markets. Several European industrial and political initiatives eager to capitalize on parts of this concept have emerged to try to complement these perspectives. Focused on a market based, locally integrated economic development model derived from accessing the significant Atlantic trade wind resource, Khalid Benhamou coordinates regional capacity building in Morocco and Mauritania. This activity co-funded by the North Atlantic Treaty Organization under its Science for Peace & Security program is conducted in academic partnerships with local industries where the issue of wind energy integration in weaker grids remains critical.