Clean Energy Business Council Annual Meeting Brings UAE Clean Energy Conversation Center Stage

Clean Energy Business Council

17 November 2013 - Dubai, United Arab Emirates

Thursday marked the 2nd Clean Energy Business Council Annual Meeting, which gathered the clean energy business community from across the MENA region for a timely dialogue on the past, present and future of the industry.

CEBC member organization EY launched their 2013 MENA Cleantech Survey in conjunction with the Annual Event, highlighting that Saudi Arabia and the UAE are the region’s most attractive clean tech markets.

Clean energy innovation in the UAE and across the region drove a rich dialogue and debate last Thursday as part of the 2nd Clean Energy Business Council (CEBC) Annual Event. The event, which was held at Dubai’s Dusit Thani hotel, convened dozens of experts in clean energy from across the MENA region, with conversations focusing on the challenges, innovations and unlimited potential of the clean energy sector across the region.

Throughout the day-long event, members of CEBC and distinguished guests discussed a broad array of topics, such as the transition from power and water generation to demand conservation, clean energy as a catalyst for social and economic development in the region, and clean energy project financing. CEBC’s Co-Chairman, Daniel Zwyietz, presented data from CEBC’s clean energy map which demonstrated that, “projects are happening rather than a couple of years ago where we were just talking about what could happen.”

The event fostered constructive debate in addition to topical presentations. Controversial issues discussed included the need to remove fuel subsidies, the loss of fossil fuel export revenues for GCC countries if they do not embrace renewables, lack of clear policy and price signals in the region, and the separation of labor policy from energy policy. The last of these was put forward by Michael Liebreich of Bloomberg New Energy Finance, who opposes the ‘Green Jobs’ argument often put forward by governments in support of renewables.

In addition, CEBC member, EY, launched their annual Cleantech Survey in conjunction with the Annual Event. The report highlighted the UAE and Saudi Arabia as the region’s top two destinations for clean tech innovation, pointing to the nations’ abundant financial resources and pro- renewables goals as key hallmarks of their potential.
The city of Dubai, the conference’s host city, also took center stage as the focal point for clean tech innovation across the MENA region.

“We understand that sustainability is a continual, incremental process,” said Taher Diab, Director, Strategy & Planning and Secretary General, Emirates Energy Award, Dubai Supreme Council of Energy. “Going forward, we envision Dubai as a hub for clean energy technology.” In the keynote address, Dubai Supreme Council of Energy Secretary General Ahmad Buti Al Muhairbi expounded on the city’s goals for demand conservation, which includes a 30% reduction in energy demand by 2030.

Major participation from regional stakeholders, including many representatives from GCC nations, demonstrated the eagerness of participants from across the gulf to better understand and apply clean energy best practices throughout the region.

“The high attendance of regional stakeholders at the CEBC annual event was outstanding” said Dr. Nasser Saidi, Chairman of CEBC. “Bringing the MENA clean energy community together for this event has brought some of the most dynamic minds in their industries to the UAE, and provided a great opportunity for all of us to share best practices and learn from one another. We are all working tirelessly to bring a sustainable clean energy business to life. These types of gatherings are great for us to reinforce that we are all on the same team.”