Clean Energy technologies are making enormous inroads to meeting the world’s energy demand. By 2011, the renewable energy sector comprised one quarter of global power capacity from all sources and delivered close to 20% of global electricity.
Traditionally Europe has lead the clean energy industry globally but there is now a rapid shift to the developing world. Employing 3 million people globally and attracting over $200 billion in investment, this industry is set to drive technological advancement in clean energy generation for years to come.
But Why Clean Energy Technology for the MENA region?
Here are our Top 5 reasons
- Jobs – not just any jobs but jobs that inspire
- Economic diversification
- Better use of oil & gas resources
- Decreased pollution and CO2 emissions
- Energy security
All the countries of the MENA region aspire to grow their economies. While their economic circumstances may be different, they share a common goal to develop industries that will provide jobs for their people in the long term. The clean Energy sector is a sunrise industry with a long future. It is estimated that the renewable energy sector creates 3 million direct jobs globally and attracts around US $200 billion of investment.
Young MENA nationals demand interesting and engaging work that aligns with their values for making a difference. A community aspiring to change their way of doing things, to become more efficient and environmentally responsible, generates inspiring and creative industries that young people both relate to and aspire to become involved in.
As well as providing an inspirational work place for future generations, the clean energy sector will deliver tangible jobs in research & development, commercialisation, technical product delivery, marketing, IT, policy & regulation as well as community education.
2. Economic diversification
Most economies aspire to have economic diversity i.e. economic reliance on a number of different industry sectors instead of just a few. Economic diversity has been shown to create less economic volatility and leads to a more sustainable economy over time. In countries dominated by revenues derived from fossil fuels, it is critical to invest in additional industry sectors to improve diversity. Many countries in the MENA region have economic diversity as a key pillar of their strategic plans. By supporting the growth of the clean energy sector, countries in the region will move their economies closer to improved diversification as well as environmental performance.
3. Better use of oil & gas resources
For those countries in the region lucky enough to have abundant natural fossil fuel resources there is a prevailing philosophy that these resources should be exploited carefully to ensure that future generations can benefit.
These resources can be sold most effectively on international markets where they fetch a high price or processed locally to produce even higher value products for international sale. However, with the benefit of revenues from oil and gas production, societies in MENA are growing and requiring more and more domestic power production. By utilising indigenous reserves of oil and gas to produce electricity, which is then often sold cheaply to consumers, those same communities are eroding their own revenue base.
It can come as no surprise those national governments in the fossil fuel rich states are looking for alternatives to utilising their valuable resources for power production at home. There are other indigenous resources such as sunshine, wind and heat from the earth that could be utilised, not just supplying electricity, but providing the next generation industries. This would leave fossil fuel reserves for higher value markets ensuring revenue for generations to come.
Because these alternative energy resources are, in some cases, more expensive than conventional power generation technologies, it is also important for national governments to start introducing policy and regulation to make their electricity grid smarter and more efficient, introduce high efficiency appliances and educate and reward consumers for more efficient power use.
4. Decreased pollution and CO2 emissions
Pollution from conventional power production, particularly when liquid fuels are burned, is significant in both particulates to air and CO2 emissions. Countries in the region have faced criticism for both the impact on environment as well as their CO2 footprints, some of which in MENA, are amongst the highest in the world.
National governments, for a range of reasons, are compelled to decrease harmful pollutants in the atmosphere and generate power using cleaner fuels to lower carbon footprints. Perhaps even more importantly, governments are looking to decrease the amount of power they must provide by encouraging their communities to use power more efficiently.
5. Energy security
A compelling reason why countries consider moving from centralised to de-centralised power generation is energy security. A nation dependent on many, smaller generating assets instead of large centralised infrastructure is likely to be more secure. Similarly, less dependence on imported energy supplies, such as gas, decreases dependence on vulnerable importing infrastructure. Energy security can be a strong driver for a clean energy strategy and integral to investment decisions by national governments.