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MENA region could become global renewables leader

Report states Middle East could become world leader in renewables

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Renewables could offer the region many advantages.
Renewables could offer the region many advantages.

The Middle East and North Africa region has the potential to become one of the world’s largest producers of renewable energy, according to a report by Booz & Company.

The firm has stated that renewable energy industry developments combined with the region’s potential in wind and solar power could give a significant advantage to companies in the region looking to capitalise on them.

“Renewables in much of the MENA region are underfunded or not funded at all, in part due to the region’s abundant supplies of fossil fuels, said Ibrahim El-Husseini, a partner at Booz & Company. However the firm states that there are seven reasons why the region could change this and become a leader in renewables.

The first of these reasons is the advantageous geography and climate. “The MENA region has the world’s greatest potential for solar power generation, offering 45% of the world’s total energy potential from all renewable sources. If the region achieved this potential, it could generate more than three times the world’s total current power demand. The region also has some potential for large-scale wind farms,” the report stated.

Another potential driver of renewable energies in the region is the fact that the current energy supply may not be sufficient to meet future demand. “With demand forecasted to grow at more than 7% per year for the next decade, MENA countries will need to build 80 to 90 gigawatts of new capacity by 2017 to meet demand,” explained Walid Fayad, a principal at Booz & Company.

The report also states that renewable in the region will help mitigate the global climate change challenge through minimising the impact of certain countries in the region which rank among the highest greenhouse gas emitters in the world on a per capita basis. Other environmental problems in the region could be addressed through renewable energies according to the report, such as rising pollution levels and resultant reductions in quality of life.

Renewables can also generate value in their own right, according to the report, freeing oil and gas for more profitable uses. “If renewable energy sources could replace the oil or gas currently used for power generation, the surpluses created could become available for more profitable downstream applications,” noted Tarek El Sayed, a principal at Booz & Company.

The final two reasons were that renewables enhances export value of the region’s traditional energy assets and the potential for the renewable energy industry to drive economic diversification and create jobs.
 

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