ME 'can become top renewable energy exporter'
Dubai, January 8, 2012
The Middle East region can become a major exporter of the renewable energy thanks to the abundance of year-round sunlight as well as pockets of geothermal activity, said a solar energy expert.
The potential for this infinite resource in the region is vast, explained Vahid Fotuhi, chairman of the Emirates Solar Industry Association. “We have all the ingredients we need to make renewable energy a success in the Middle East,” he noted.
“Saudi Arabia’s Rub Al’Khali region (the Empty Quarters) receives enough sunlight to power two earths. We just need to find an efficient and commercially viable way of harnessing that energy. I’m confident that it’s not a question of ‘if’ but rather ‘when’,” he added.
Fotuhi will be part of an expert panel discussing the growth of renewable energy in the region at the 'Middle East Electricity’s Power & Utilities Infrastructure Conference' to be held in Dubai.
'Middle East Electricity 2012,'a leading power event that focuses on power, lighting, renewable, nuclear and water sectors, will run from February 7 to 9.
According to the United Nations Environment Programme, new investment in renewable energy for the Mena region in 2010 grew 104 per cent to reach $5 billion.
Fotuhi said that though the potential for renewable energy in the Middle East is clear, the key challenges are the high costs and the lack of legislation that’s needed to tap that potential.
“There are two factors that need to be put in place for renewable energy to truly take off,” remarked Fotuhi.
“First, there needs to be rules and regulations governing the implementation of renewable projects, and secondly, governments need to provide support in the form of ‘green subsidies’ to help the industry get on its feet,” he added.
According to Fotuhi, the investment in research and development in the renewable energy sector will help drive down costs as well as improve profits for investors.
'We have seen the price of solar and wind systems drop by over 50 per cent over the past few years, while the cost of conventional electricity has gone up,' he stated.
“This means that renewables are becoming increasingly competitive and attractive for investors. From a job creation point of view, research shows that for every one megawatt of solar energy, 15 jobs would be created across the entire value chain,” he added.
The event, organised by Informa Exhibitions, is the sister event to 'Power + Water Middle East' in Abu Dhabi and 'Africa Electricity' in Johannesburg.
The exhibition boasts of over 1,000 exhibitors from 59 countries. Of this, nearly ten per cent will be showcasing products and services in the new and renewable energy sector.
Another new addition to the event is the Smart Power 2012 conference, which will discuss the development and future of smart energy policies.-TradeArabia News Service
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