Solar power could create 100,000 MENA jobs
Region possible 'boom centre' says consultant
By Gavin Davids
The MENA region has the opportunity to become a "boom centre" for solar energy within the next 10 years, creating up to 100,000 new jobs, according to consultants AT Kearney.
The global management consulting firm said in a report that it believes that investment in solar energy can create annual revenues of $90 billion for the region.
According to the firm, Concentrated Solar Power (CSP) will become cost effective within the next 12 months as oil and gas prices continue increasing to rise.
Christan von Tschirschky, principal, AT Kearney, said that the Middle East may be able to benefit from the expected global boom through developing its own solar power energy industry. This could be used to satisfy the region’s own demand and part of the growing global demand for renewable energy.
The World Bank earlier this week announced plans to invest $5.5 billion into solar energy projects in the MENA region and von Tschirschy believes that the Middle East is in a unique position to develop high quality, globally competitive solar suppliers at lower costs than the US and Europe.
He said: “A competitive regional solar energy industry has the potential of creating more than 100,000 new jobs in the region, based on benchmarks from other regions. These include direct jobs in Photovoltaic and CSP suppliers, developers and operators, as well as supporting industries.
“Besides developing solar technology and production centres, the region may also sell solar energy in future (as part of the European Desertec project ) to Europe, which will open up the chance for additional revenues of $90 billion per annum for MENA."
However, AT Kearney warned that for a regional solar power industry to succeed it would need the close cooperation of government and private sectors on a number of issues, including that of sufficient funding, the creation of a regulatory framework and the education of a creation of an educated solar energy workforce.
In addition to this, the costs of establishing and constructing industrial zones for the production of solar energy will have to be borne by national and regional strategies.