Policy and finance for renewables gain focus

Clean Energy Business Council

Utilities ME - 1 December 2015 - Dubai, United Arab Emirates

Influential policy figures and business leaders from across the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) will gather to address and accelerate the region’s renewable energy deployment in Dubai next week.

The fourth MENA Clean Energy Forum takes place on 8th December, at a time of renewed urgency for the regional clean energy industry. Renewable energy continues to be cited as the most important element of the fight against climate change, as well as representing a vast commercial opportunity as clean technologies begin to reach grid parity with fossil fuels.

Central to the forum’s discussion will be the importance of regulatory support for renewable energy in regional markets that have committed to increasing their share of electricity generated from renewable sources. A recent report issued by the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) released ahead of COP21, suggested that MENA investments in renewables would need to increase three-fold in the coming years to avert serious climate change.

“What we are witnessing is the convergence of an increasingly positive dialogue around the economics of renewables, acting as a catalyst for the energy transition, which also reflects the regional ambition to be seen as a major player in clean energy” said Suresh Bhaskar, Head of Business Development Middle East at ENGIE, partner of the MENA Clean Energy Forum.

“As the multi-faceted benefits of a more balanced energy mix take centre stage in the social and political agenda, we approach a key juncture of a long-term shift towards cleaner technologies,” he added. “We must continue to unite private sector players and financiers with policy makers to encourage inclusion and collaboration if we are to transition regional energy systems meaningfully and successfully.”

Senior government officials from Egypt will outline the successes of its attractive regulatory policies and the introduction of a Feed-in-Tariff (FiT) that has encouraged greater participation from the industry’s private sector and allowed for the rapid scale up of renewable energy. Eng. Lamya Abdel Hady, Director of Egypt’s Solar FiT programme at the Egyptian Electricity Transmission Company, said meeting targets without attractive regulatory policies would be difficult.

“The viability and structure of clean energy regulatory policies must be studied and analyzed on a case by case basis across the region, to ensure that any such updates successfully encourage greater private sector involvement and investment,” said Eng. Lamya Abdel Hady.

“But what is clear is in Egypt such policies have had an incredibly positive effect on our national renewable energy programme, and will continue to underpin clean energy deployment and investment for the near future,” she continued. “We are all faced with a great challenge, but one that can be successfully navigated through the implementation and management of attractive policies.”

The Clean Energy Business Council will also take this opportunity to launch its new regional initiative “Women in Clean Energy” to support and inspire women working in the clean tech industry in the MENA region.

In addition to Egypt’s Eng. Lamya Abdel Hady, other notable attendees and speakers at the event include Jordan’s head of Electricity and Renewable Energy from the Energy and Minerals Regulatory Commission who recently oversaw the tendering process for some of the most cost-competitive clean electricity anywhere in the world. Government representatives from Dubai, Oman and Morocco will also be attendance.

The event takes place at the Emirates Towers in Dubai, and is organised by the Clean Energy Business Council and SPI Exhibitions.