Global safety science company UL said it has joined hands with Saudi-based GCC Electrical Testing Laboratory (GCC Labs) to develop a state-of-the-art renewables and smart grid testing facility at its custom-built facility in Dammam, Saudi Arabia.
It will be a first-of-its-kind facility in the Middle East and North Africa (Mena) region, and will serve customers across the region with world-class testing and certification facilities.
The announcement was made at the inaugural Saudi Electricity Forum held recently in Riyadh.
The GCC Electrical Testing Laboratory is an independent, reliable, capable and efficient start-up laboratory to serve the electrical equipment testing requirements including renewables in the GCC and neighbouring countries.
The Mena region is poised to make huge strides in the electricity sector over the next decade, remarked Jeff Smidt, the vice-president and general manager of the Energy and Power Technologies Division at UL.
Smidt was giving his keynote presentation in the presence of top senior delegates at the key energy industry event.
"The JV agreement and establishment of GCC Labs at the first Electric Summit all point towards an extremely positive future for the sector in the region, with Saudi Arabia marching towards the sustainable future outlined in Vision 2030," stated Smidt after signing the deal with Matteo Codazzi, the CEO of technical consulting and engineering company CESI and Saleh Al Amri, CEO of GCC Labs in the presence of Minister of Energy, Industry and Mineral Resources, Khalid A. Al Falih.
"There was a very obvious sense of collaboration amongst private firms and government entities, all wanting to work together for the shared purpose of improving the energy sector in the GCC," he added.
Hamid Syed, the VP and general manager at UL Middle East, said: "The Saudi Electric Forum was the perfect place to sign such a significant agreement and we look forward to collaborating with our colleagues at GCC Labs to offer renewable and smart grid testing facilities to the public and private sector firms across Mena so that everyone in this region benefit from the safety advancements made in the sector."
According to him, the Middle East markets to be served by the joint venture all have ambitious renewable targets with substantial growth expected over the next several years.
It is anticipated that the joint venture will be well positioned to support those targets in the years to come.
GCC Labs CEO Saleh A. Al Amri said: "The forum showed the trust and high expectation that our strategic stakeholders have for our joint venture to deliver best in class services to contribute fundamentally to the achievement of the Saudi and GCC visions."
"We are delighted to work with such a globally renowned industry leader as UL and we look forward to a successful venture," he added.