MENA cleantech developments
Q10 What is the most important development in cleantech in the last 12 months in MENA?
This open-ended question was designed to get a feel of the top-of-mind recall and sentiment of our respondents, and it has provided us with valuable feedback. In addition to what they thought were the top developments in MENA cleantech, we are pleased to note that respondents displayed their feelings in the three broad areas of technology, cost and market. We have encapsulated the range of responses mentioning specific countries and their projects.
Jordan leads the top-of-mind recall as it recently began construction on the Tafila wind farm project. Its new law for FITs and new tender frameworks are leading cleantech innovation in the region.
The UAE follows with its announcement of the 100MW solar power projects in Dubai and Abu Dhabi and continuing developments at Masdar City. Further, its announcements regarding the development of a rooftop solar scheme by Dubai Electricity and Water Authority (DEWA) is a first in the region.
Saudi Arabia ranks third and respondents consider it the largest market, with work being done to develop solar and wind projects. Its polysilicon plant construction is also mentioned along with the publication of its solar atlas.A minor negative for Saudi Arabia is seen as the delay in the implementation of its solar mega project due to investment and regulatory issues.
Morocco, at fourth in our survey, has announced a US$9-billion solar project and is going ahead with the wind farms. It is also seen as a leader as it pursues both solar and wind technologies aggressively.
Cleantech as a win-win approach to generation is finding widespread acceptance in the MENA Region. Technological breakthroughs in solar, wind and water are driving the increased importance of cleantech among regional leadership, legislators and government entities. Decreasing cost of solar and wind farms, coupled with the development of rooftop generation technology, are providing more options to countries to lower their dependency on fossil fuels. Future developments will see the region adopt technologies such as electric cars, smart metering and a host of other clean technologies.
MENA countries are increasingly realizing the opportunity cost being incurred by not adopting cleantech. They now seek to reduce the amount of fossil fuel they use domestically, which can be sold for more profit in the open market. There is also recognition of the benefits in reducing subsidies and offsetting the cost of renewables. 2013 was seen as a milestone year for cleantech developments in the region with the rise of IPPs and competitive procurement in reverse auctions. Forming strong relationships between the private and public sectors and encouraging local investors backed by governments to create an efficient cleantech infrastructure are seen as important. As the cost of cleantech closes the gap with traditional sources, investors are more likely to step in.
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Cleantech Director — EY Middle East and North Africa
Associate Director – EY Europe Middle East and North Africa