Clean energy council opens in Abu Dhabi
Abu Dhabi, January 19, 2011
The first board meeting of the Clean Energy Business Council – Mena (CEBC), an industry association established to represent the clean energy sector, was held yesterday (January 18) in Abu Dhabi alongside the World Future Energy Summit.
A registered not-for-profit association, CEBC members include some of the regions key industry players including financiers, project developers and service providers.
The industry umbrella association, located within the Masdar Free Zone in Abu Dhabi, will assist in deepening the sector’s maturity and the development of more certainty around government regulatory and policy frameworks relating to this important sector.
“The CEBC has been established with the specific aim of representing international and regional industry players who together share an interest in the establishment of a thriving and dynamic marketplace for clean energy across the Mena region,” said CEBC Chairman, Dr Nasser Saidi, chief economist and head of external relations at the Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC).
“What differentiates the CEBC from other clean energy initiatives in the region is that it is specifically focused on supporting the development of a sound regulatory and policy framework for the clean energy industry, as opposed to focusing on project development,” said John Cunneen, the electricity regulator for Oman, a member of the CEBC board.
“It’s critical that regional governments have access to a neutral forum where the international expertise can be tapped in to by governments and the industry’s barriers and opportunities can be better understood.”
“Experience from more mature clean energy markets supports the case for a close working relationship and collaboration between industry and government in order to support the emergence of a successful clean energy sector,” explained Cunneen.
The CEBC will enable the industry to address some of its current challenges, including the accessibility of key region-wide data and an established benchmark for the region.
Dr Sami Kamel, CEBC board member and general manager for marketing, Middle East and Africa, GE Energy, said: “One of the immediate priorities of the council is to establish a benchmark for the sector across the region.”
“We will do this as a collaborative effort between key researchers based locally and internationally. This will help us to understand what is going on in the sector and where work still needs to be done.”
“While we often hear of individual projects, less is understood about the regulatory and policy frameworks being established to drive the sector forward. International experience suggests it’s these frameworks and not the individual projects that drive the sector’s success,” he added.
The CEBC will also assist the industry in alleviating the current perceived lack of transparency within the sector’s development and the difficulty the industry is having in accessing key information required to evaluate prospective markets, said Michael Liebreich of Bloomberg New Energy Finance.
“While the data suggests that there is a huge opportunity for clean energy in the region because of pressures on indigenous hydrocarbon resources and clean development of the power sector, many of the large international players are still only keeping satellite clean energy offices in the region until they can see a sufficient maturing of the sector to support a larger deployment of resources,” Liebreich said.
“Industry is not yet persuaded that large scale opportunities will emerge in the region and it will be a key challenge for the CEBC to make the case for the sector as well as working with governments to make the signals more clear for international investment,” he added.
Currently staffed by volunteers from key member organisations, during its first year of operations, the Council will focus its activity on short term regional benchmarking, in addition to developing strategic relationships between key industry players.
The council will also focus on developing meaningful dialogue with governments across the region to build understanding and knowledge of how the industry can partner with them in delivering against clean energy policy goals and aspirations. – TradeArabia News Service