Mideast 'must capitalise on renewable energy'
Abu Dhabi, September 30, 2012
The Middle East has major opportunities to capitalise on the use of renewable energy, but is being held back due to the initial financial commitment required to invest in such technologies, according to an energy expert.
Johan de Villiers, president, power systems, of power and automation technology group ABB in the Gulf, said the region is blessed with an abundance of the proven renewable energy source, sunlight, but more needs to be done through multi-stakeholder collaboration to ensure the benefits of the free energy resource are maximised.
“Despite the vast potential of renewable energy in the Middle East, we have a lot of preparatory work to do so that the true economical and environmental benefits of renewable technologies can shine through,” said de Villiers, a headline speaker at the Power + Water Leaders’ Forum, taking place on October 8, alongside the Power + Water Middle East Exhibition at Abu Dhabi National Exhibition Centre.
“Whilst there are financial investments required to implement such technologies, in many cases there is a lack of knowledge and acceptance, which is natural. The good news is in many countries, governments are consulting widely, initiating pilot projects and most importantly are starting work on policies and pricing frameworks that will encourage sustainable energy initiatives and projects.
He added: “It requires hard work and collaboration from all stakeholders to overcome these barriers and challenges. I think the many great pioneering examples around the region are supporting the awareness of what is possible and the potential of sustainable energy solutions.”
At the Power + Water Leaders’ Forum in Abu Dhabi, De Villiers will deliver a presentation outlining how far the Middle East has come in developing sustainable energy and what the future holds.
He will be joined by several experts in the renewable energy field, including Vahid Fotuhi, president of the Emirates Solar Industry Association (ESIA), who said that the Middle East is diverse enough for a number of renewable energy sources and technologies.
“The potential for renewable energy in the Middle East is huge,” said Fotuhi, who added that Saudi Arabia’s Rub Al’Khali desert alone receives enough sunlight to power two earths.
“The market is large enough and diverse enough for several different types of technologies, including solar, wind and geothermal. Even within the solar family, there are regions that are better suited for solar thermal applications and others which are better for solar photovoltaic systems.”
Solar in particular appears to be gaining significant traction in the Middle East. According to research specialists Ventures Middle East, there are currently 10 solar projects worth a combined $6.8 billion underway in the UAE, Kuwait, Oman, Egypt, Jordan and Morocco.
“There is a clean energy movement in the Middle East that will transform the region’s power generation landscape for many years to come,” said Anita Mathews, exhibition director of Power + Water Middle East.
The Power + Water Leaders’ Forum will attract more than 400 senior level professionals from the energy sector looking to tap into the innovative thinking behind the development of sustainable business practices across the industry.
Other speakers taking part at the forum include Nick Carter, director-general of the Regulation & Supervision Bureau; Ian Clarke, managing director of Mott MacDonald Middle East; and Fady Juez, managing director, Metito.
The Power + Water Middle East exhibition has so far attracted more than 100 exhibitors from 25 countries. It will run till October 10. – TradeArabia News Service