Strong economic and demographic growth associated with rapid urbanisation  has led to an increase in energy demand  to meet rising electricity and desalinated water needs in the Middle East and North Africa (Mena) region, according to a recent report.
The report titled, MENA Renewables Report and published in June 2013 by the International Renewable Energy Agency (Irena) and Renewable Energy Policy Network for the 21st Century (REN21), estimates that investments worth US$145.7 billion will be needed  for power generation from 2013 to 2017 in the Mena region.
Of which, investments worth $63.1 billion will be in the GCC, $21.4 billion in Iran and approximately $53 billion in the combined other countries of the region.
With the regional renewable energy sector  also continuing to accelerate, governments and experts will gather to debate industry developments, strategy and innovation at the second edition of the Power + Water Leaders Forum in Abu Dhabi, taking place on 23 September at Abu Dhabi National Exhibition Centre (ADNEC).
The conference runs alongside the Power + Water Middle East exhibition, which takes place from September 23-25, and will provide an ideal platform for experts to discuss sustainable best practices and innovative solutions across two of the region’s bourgeoning sectors.
A notable line-up of speakers will feature at the one-day forum, including His Excellency Engineer Khaldon Khashman, Secretary General, Arab Countries Water Utilities Association (ACWUA), and Robin Mills, Head of Consulting at Manaar Energy Consulting.
Experts from the Saudi Electricity Company, Abu Dhabi National Energy Company (TAQA), Oman Authority for Electricity Regulation and Regulatory Supervision Bureau will be among the first group of panelists, in the morning of the one-day conference to discuss best practice to improve efficiency in power and water programmes.
They will be joined later by Dr Michael Kraemer, Senior Associate at Taylor Wessing, Board Member and Legal Counsel for the Emirates Solar Industry Association, who will deliver a presentation about renewable energy, underlining clear policies and standards to drive investments into solar power projects.
Also speaking will be Dr Said Al Shaikh, senior vice-president and group chief Economist at the National Commercial Bank, who will spotlight Saudi Arabia’s role as a leader and pioneer in regional renewable energy projects, highlighting new opportunities for the private sector.
Anita Mathews, director of Informa Energy Group, organisers of Power + Water Middle East, said: “The development of the region’s renewable energy sector has seen a sharp interest from investors with regional investments set at $2.9 billion in 2012.”
“One of the key themes of the Power + Water Leaders Forum is renewable energy, and the growth of the sector in the MENA region is likely to continue over the next two decades, with over 100 projects currently under development.”
Held in strategic partnership with the Abu Dhabi Water & Electricity Authority (ADWEA), Power + Water Middle East brings together developers, manufacturers, buyers and service providers from a range of sectors in power and water to meet, discuss and invest in the current products and technologies in the related industries.