21 Jun 2021 13:00—14:30

Towards Clean and Sustainable Cooking: The Outlook for Electric Cooking in Morocco

Webinar — France

The International Energy Agency and the Moroccan Agency for Energy Efficiency have been investigating the feasibility of electric cooking in Morocco, in order to reduce the use of butane and traditional biomass. The motivations for the study included providing and strengthening access to clean cooking to households currently relying, fully or partially, on biomass for cooking, to both improve living standards and reduce deforestation, and secondly, to reduce the overall consumption of butane to lower subsidy and import bills.

In collaboration with the Modern Energy Cooking Services Programme (MECS), cooking trials were undertaken to assess the suitability of electric pressure cookers (EPCs) for cooking typical Moroccan dishes, and preliminary assessments for the impacts on cooking costs, household bills, electricity grids, CO2 emissions, and subsidy bills. These impacts were assessed considering three household types, or “archetypes”: i) urban grid-connected houeholds relying 100% on butane for their cooking needs ii) rural grid-connected households that use a combination of butane and firewood and iii) rural off-grid households that rely on firewood for cooking (as well as space and water heating).

The findings of the trials have demonstrated that:

  • Some of the most commonly cooked dishes such as meat and/or vegetable stews (such as tagines) and soups are very well suited for cooking in an EPC, providing significant time (-74%), energy (-95%) and cost (-82%) savings.
  • These dishes cooked in an EPC were rated highly on taste and cookin experience by the participants of the cooking trials.
  • The EPCs did not provide such positive results when trialled on dishes involving quick frying or a high degree of temperature control (such as omelettes). Therefore, EPCs could potentially be used for just under half of Moroccan cooking, though this share could be increased with some simple modifications to EPC designs currently available in Morocco (such as adding a steaming rack for couscous).
  • Despite the relatively high carbon-intensity of Morocco’s electricity today, the high energy efficiency of the EPC indicates that carbon emissions could still be reduced when comparing electric cooking to cooking with butane. These emissions reductions would increase as the share of renewables continues to grow.

At a household level, it is likely that electric cooking may increase overall electricity consumption. There is also a risk that due to the progressive tariff scheme in Morocco, some households could be moved up to a higher consumption bracket, and pay more per unit of electricity, therefore a revision to the tariff system might be necessary to promote the transition, and avoid excessive increases in household energy bills.

For rural households that rely on a combination of butane and firewood, EPCs could provide an overall financial saving of 30% in monthly cooking costs, unless a battery is required for grid reliability reasons, in which case utility funding or other forms of financial support are likely to be required. The key benefit for these households would be to eliminate their use of firewood for indoor cooking, to increase air quality and improve health. Rural off-grid households, who collect firewood for free and do not have access to the butane distribution system nor to the electricity grid, would see significant upfront costs for a PV and battery system powering cooking and other appliances, however this could cut their fuelwood consumption by approximately half, bringing some health and socioeconomic benefits and slowing deforestation.

At a national level, if 50% of butane consuming households were to adopt an EPC and shift half of their cooking to electricity, savings of over MAD 1 260 million (approximately EUR 120 million ) could be achieved through lower subsidy bills, representing a 13% saving to the government subsidy bill, with additional savings from avoided imports.

While the analysis and findings of this project suggest that EPCs are likely to bring significant benefits, many uncertainties remain, and would need to be the subject of further research, and in particular, much wider field trials and extensive stakeholder engagement, in order that the different characteristics of Moroccan households are more accurately represented and appropriate mechanisms for deployment of EPCs are identified. It is likely that financial support will be required, particularly in off-grid cases, as well as a careful assessment of existing subsidy and incentive schemes. Support also may be required for developing alternative business models such as on-bill financing and/or bulk procurement.

This project has established an important foundation for understanding the potential benefits of electric cooking in Morocco, and the likelihood of its social acceptance

This webinar will be hosted by the International Energy Agency and the Moroccan Agency for Energy Efficiency, and aims to describe the methodology and findings from the cooking trials as well as discuss the possible implications and next steps.

The webinar will also welcome stakeholders from outside of Morocco, who may have similar experiences to share, or be interested in replicating a similar methodology in other countries for which electric cooking may accelerate access to clean and sustainable cooking.

Simultaneous translation between English and French will be provided.

The IEA’s role as a co-organiser of this event is facilitated through the International Energy Agency Joint Work Programme with the Kingdom of Morocco to support the transition to a decarbonized energy system — Morocco, which has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement No 811145.

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