MENA keeps up the pace with renewable energy

Published December 10th, 2012 - 12:53 GMT
Solar energy
Solar energy

While the UAE, Kuwait, Oman, Egypt, Jordan and Morocco are moving forward with at least ten solar power facilities worth $6.8 billion, more regional renewable energy projects will be announced in the next 12 months, said an expert.

“By 2030, almost 15.7 per cent of the world’s energy will be coming from renewable sources. With global hydrocarbon resources dwindling amid a concerted effort to build a green environment while reducing carbon emissions, countries across the world are now turning to green energy,” added Anita Mathews, exhibition director of Middle East Electricity, an upcoming energy trade show in Dubai. Middle East Electricity is taking place from February 17 to 19 at the Dubai International Exhibition and Convention Centre.

“While the Mena region has a long way to go to catch up with the rest of the world in terms of renewable energy investment, governments are definitely reviewing their strategies and aiming at increasing the shares of renewable energy in their energy mix of the future.”

Global renewable energy investment has reached an all time high in 2011 of $257 billion, but the Mena region lags behind the rest of the world, accounting for only 2.1 per cent ($5.5 billion) of total renewables investment for the year, according to the latest Global Trends in Renewable Energy Investment report.

Though Mena countries have an abundance of renewable sources to become a world leader in renewable energy – predominantly solar and wind – policy uncertainty created by socio-political turmoil has delayed progress.

Additionally, disincentives built into electricity price subsidies have stalled renewables deployment within the Mena region according to the report, which was released this year in collaboration between the United Nations Environment Program (UNEP) and the Frankfurt School of Finance and Management. Countries spared by the turbulence such as the UAE and Morocco, however made significant advancements.

With the renewable energy sector highlighted as a key focus this year, the event’s organisers Informa Exhibitions believe that regional investment in the sector will pick up again, after a disappointing year in 2011, in which investment had dropped by 18 per cent from 2010.

Informa will also launch Solar Middle East alongside Middle East Electricity, a three-day event dedicated to the regional solar industry, which is set to become the largest gathering of solar technology suppliers ever seen in the Middle East.

And as renewable energy investment across the world climbs to new heights, the trend is set to continue. According to Bloomberg New Energy Finance, renewables investments are predicted to reach $395 billion in 2020 before climbing to $460 billion in 2030.

Now in its 38th edition, Middle East Electricity will host more than 1,000 exhibitors from 56 countries, of which more than a quarter are involved in the renewable energy sector.

The three-day event returns with the popular Middle East Electricity Awards, an extended programme of technical seminars, and is partnered with Power + Water Middle East in Abu Dhabi, Power Nigeria in Abuja and Africa Electricity in Johannesburg.

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