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Smart grid 'a great opportunity' for local market

Former US energy department official offers praise for regional sector

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Paul Dickerson, partner at Haynes & Boone.
Paul Dickerson, partner at Haynes & Boone.

Due to the relatively young nature of its infrastructure, the Middle East stands to benefit strongly from the advent of the smart grid, according to a leading industry observer.

Paul Dickerson, former chief operating officer of the US Department of Energy’s Energy & Efficiency and Renewable Energy division under President Bush and current partner at law firm Haynes & Boone, told Utilities Middle East that the region has a unique opportunity in this field.

“I think that for countries in the Middle East and North Africa region, some of which are building out their infrastructure for the first time, there is a great opportunity to build them ‘smart’,” Dickerson remarked.

“With some of the older economies, such as the US and the UK, there are established grids, which makes them far more difficult to revamp.”

Dickerson was also quick to praise the region for its dedication towards renewable energies, commending it particularly on its speedy roll-out of new technologies.

“My advice to the Middle East is much the same as my advice to the administration of President Obama,” Dickerson added.

“Firstly, don’t try and pay for renewables by taxing the traditional incumbents in the energy sector. My second piece of advice would be not to limit your investment in research and development.

“What our friends in the Middle East – and at Masdar especially - have been brilliant at is pulling together full-scale commercial developments, drawing in new technologies at an early stage and then deploying them in a way that sets an example to the region and the world,” Dickerson concluded.

You can read the full interview with Paul Dickerson in the October issue of Utilities Middle East.

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