Alternative energy key topic at Arab power meet

January 08, 2013 - 1:22:14 am

The Minister of Energy and Industry and Chairman and Managing Director of Qatar Petroleum H E Dr Mohammed bin Saleh Al Sada cutting the ribbon to open the 4th general conference of Arab Union of Electricity and Exhibition in Doha yesterday. Abdul Basit

DOHA: The private sector is set to play a key role in the development of the Arab region’s emerging renewable energy sector. 

SMEs will be another active player, top policy makers announced at the opening session of the 4th General Conference of Arab Union of Electricity and exhibition that got underway here yesterday.

Delivering the key note address, the Minister of Energy and Industry H E Dr Mohammed bin Saleh Al Sada said Qatar is committed to launch a leading Arab initiative to support alternative energy resources. There would be broad partnerships between public and private sectors that would be contributing to this sector.

Dr Al Sada said the tenders for Qatar’s proposed 150GW solar power generation project would be floated during the first quarter of 2013. The project will be implemented in two phases. The second phase might be restructured based on the assessment of the outcome of the initial phase. There will be massive involvement of the private sectors and corporations in terms of investments, he said.

The Assistant Secretary General for Economic Affairs of the League of Arab States Dr Mohammed bin Ibrahim Al Twaijri said the private sector would emerge as a major force in investments in the region’s hugely projected renewable energy generation.

He said the region would see a major leap in the generation of renewable energy in the coming years. The Arab Fund for Economic and Social Development has already launched a feasibility study of its proposed programme. The study is expected to be completed this year. The World Bank is conducting a parallel study. The study would look into the possibilities of a common electricity and gas link of the Arab Union, he said.

Dr Mohammed said the Arab Fund’s meeting scheduled to be held this month in Riyadh would also discuss the possibilities of issuing uniform guidelines in the utility of power.  The use of nuclear power in the desalination process is another issue to be discussed in the Riyadh meet, he said.

The President of Arab Union of Electricity Mohamed Ridha ben Mosbah noted the region’s solar energy resources are spread across a vast 300 sq km area. By 2011, the Arab region was expecting to generate 69GW of solar energy, an annual increase of 50 percent. 

Egypt, Tunisia, Morocco are going in a big way. The region is also going in full force for the establishment of smart grids. 

At least 4 million smart grids have been installed across the region, in 2011. This is a 27 percent increase compared to the previous year. 

Taner Yildiz, Minister of Energy and Natural Resources, Turkey, Essa bin Hilal Al Kuwari, President of Qatar General Electricity and Water Corporation (Kahramaa) also spoke. 

The Peninsula