Some $250 billion worth of power projects in the Middle East and North Africa (Mena) region will undergo a transitional shift from fossil-fuel to renewable energy sources as well as clean nuclear energy, said officials and experts.
The Mena region is expected to add 5.6 GW of installed capacity from renewables in 2022, nearly double the 3 GW which came online in 2021, they said at the two-day Mena Power Projects 2022 conference that took off on September 7 at the Conrad Abu Dhabi Etihad Tower, UAE.
By 2026, the region is expected to add 33 GW by installed capacity of renewables, with around 26 GW as utility and distributed solar PV, according to a latest report published by Arab Petroleum Investments Corporation (Apicorp).
Over 200 delegates
More than 200 delegates including senior government officials, project owners, project management professionals, project developers, contractors, sub-contractors, technology providers, utility suppliers, industry experts and key stakeholders are taking part at the event.
The UAE is at the forefront of the energy transition from fossil fuels to renewable energy and green hydrogen eco-system, officials said.
“The UAE Energy Strategy 2050 has clear objectives: Increasing the share of clean energy in the total energy mix to reach 50 percent by the year 2050; reducing the carbon footprint of power generation by 70 percent and increasing consumption efficiency of all users by 40 percent,” Yousif Ahmed Al Ali, Assistant Undersecretary for Water, Electricity & Future Energy Affairs, Ministry of Energy & and Infrastructure, UAE, told delegates.
“Over the next decade, the UAE will focus on driving clean electrification through solar and nuclear power, implementing transparent policy, improving energy efficiency, reducing methane emissions and turbocharging innovation to commercialization of hydrogen, accompanied by strategies to unlock capital flows in support of clean energy transitions and ensure reliability and affordability.”
He said supporting the UAE’s national agenda and the developments in the Power and Water sectors, the UAE Government has launched strategic projects to transform the sector, namely nuclear, which is a pioneering initiative in the Middle East, leading the region’s first large-scale solar PV plants, first solar thermal, battery storages, hydro-storage, waste-to-energy, etc.
Mohammed Al Taani, Secretary-General of the Arab Renewable Energy Commission, said, the Arab World will see more than 300 million Electric Vehicles (EVs) in operation by 2040.
Hydrogen and EVs
“The Arab World will witness $700 billion investment in renewable energy transition between 2020 and 2050 with a target to generate more than 70 Gigawatts of power from renewable energy by 2050,” he said. “Hydrogen and EVs will account for 300 million vehicles by 2040 and more than 60% of the total active vehicles by 2050.”
According to the Pan Arab Clean Energy (PACE) initiative by the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA), the Arab World is committed to raise the power generation by renewable energy to 80 GW by 2030. This will bring a large number of renewable energy projects online in the next few years.
According to Apicorp, investment in the Mena power sector will exceed a total of $250 billion, the highest of all energy sectors. Of these, nearly $60 billion worth of power projects are being developed in Saudi Arabia, followed by Egypt where $37 billion worth of power projects, country-wise data shows.
9 top power projects in UAE
Among the current top 25 power projects in Mena region, 9 of them are in the UAE. In terms of project value, the UAE comes third with $26 billion worth of power projects under planning and development.
Global energy investment is set to increase by 8% to reach $2.4 trillion in 2022, with the anticipated rise coming mainly in clean energy, according to a new report by the International Energy Agency (IEA).
“Investment is increasing in all parts of the energy sector, but the main boost in recent years has come from the power sector – mainly in renewables and grids – and from increased spending on end-use efficiency,” IEA said in the report.
“Clean energy investment is – finally – starting to pick up and is expected to exceed $1.4 trillion in 2022, accounting for almost three-quarters of the growth in overall energy investment.”
Cost of fuel
Due to the high cost of fuel, the total energy bill paid by the world’s consumers is likely to top $10 trillion for the first time in 2022, it said.
Global investment in the renewable energy sector climbed 11% to $226 billion in the first half of 2022 amid higher energy prices, according to a report by research company BloombergNEF (Bnef). Investment in new large- and small-scale solar projects rose 33% to a record-breaking $120 billion, while wind project financing grew 16% to $84 billion, the report said.
Mena Power Projects 2022 aims to foster innovation and diversification to achieve energy transition, discuss on the development of clean, green and renewable energy and secure more businesses in this sector. Delegates at the forum will listen from more than 40 experts discussing a set of wide-ranging subjects.
On the first day, the discussion topics for the Mena Power Projects Forum included increasing efficiency of power generating units, wind power, nuclear power projects, retro-fitting power plants with new technology, Mena energy future, electricity energy demand, clean energy strategy and implementation plan, new project announcements and updates on latest power projects etc.
The first panel discussion was on future of power and energy at the Mena region where panelists, Faiza Al Harthi, Energy Sector Head, Oman Vision 2040 Implementation Follow-up Unit and Fawaz Al Muharrami, Executive Director, Masdar Clean Energy, Shuvendu Bose, Consultant, Ministry of Energy & Infrastructure, UAE, Mohammed Al Taani, Secretary General of the Arab Renewable Energy Commission, Vice Chairman of the Jordanian Renewables Energy Society, Prof. Galal Osman, Vice President, Founder, World Wind Energy Association, President, Egypt Wind Energy Association, Egypt discussed Mena’s energy visions and goals, region’s power sector and the key factors behind it, opportunities in the local markets, and strategies to overcome the labour shortage challenge etc.
Second panel discussion
The second panel discussion of the day was on the topic ‘Improving transmission and distribution efficiency in the region’, which was moderated by a senior executive from EOSOL. The panelists Dr Bruce Stedall, Director of Asset Management, Abu Dhabi Transmission and Despatch Company (Transco), Mayure Daby, Head Net Zero Energy, Middle East, Atkins, Shaikh Sahid Hossain, Senior Vice President & Global Director for Product and Strategy, ETAP and Ahmed Awad Al Saeedi, Head of OHL Section, Al Ain Distribution Company discussed about tackling extreme weather challenge, strengthening network resilience, exploring top solutions to enhance grid stability, renewable energy connection, utilizing innovative automation etc.
Faisal Ali Rashid, Senior Director, Demand Side Management, Supreme Council of Energy, UAE, gave an exclusive presentation on the topic ‘Dubai approach towards clean energy strategy and implementation plan on the horizon of 2030 & 2050’, followed by country briefings for UAE, Oman and Egypt and project spotlights.
For the third panel discussion of the day, ‘Nuclear power in the Mena region - opportunities and challenges’, Sara Rashad Al Saadi, Director Nuclear Safety, Federal Authority for Nuclear Regulations, FANR, David Haboubi, Head of Nuclear & Net Zero Energy, Middle East & Africa, Atkins SNC-Lavalin and Dr Rahaf Ajaj, Assistant Professor, College of Health Sciences, Abu Dhabi University were the panelists. The panel was moderated by Imteyaz Ahmad, Managing Director - Power and Water, Future Water and Power Consulting (FWPC). Panelists emphasized on exploring the new nuclear plant projects and opportunities in the region.
This panel discussion was followed by an exclusive presentation on ‘Wind power in the Mena region’ by Prof. Galal Osman, Vice President, Founder, World Wind Energy Association, President, Egypt Wind Energy Association, Egypt.
The Mena Power Projects Forum will end with closing remarks by the event chairman, Frank Wouters, Senior Vice President, Reliance Industries Limited, Director, EU-GCC Clean Energy Network, followed by networking lunch break.
The official wind turbine partner for the event is Envision and official decarbonizing partner is Emerson. The exhibitor is NL acoustics, and the strategic partners are PGESCO, MOTWANE, OZEE Energy, and ETAP.