Mena Region’s Movement Toward a Clean Energy Future
Established in 2008, the Clean Energy Business Council (CEBC) is a non-profit organization with a mission to establish a leading forum for companies and government entities focused on the development and deployment of clean energy in the MENA region. The CEBC seeks to promote the clean energy industry and inform the wider community of the benefits of the sector in the region. In collaboration with government agencies and stakeholders, the CEBC develops policies and regulations in this quickly developing and exciting sector. Strategic alliances are a key initiative, partnering with research institutions, international associations, media and others to drive the delivery of clean energy solutions for MENA.
The Arabian Gulf is an ideal place to generate solar energy and with over 3,500 sunshine hours per year, Dubai’s climatic conditions are amongst the world’s best for generating photovoltaic energy. However, even when the costs of solar panels fell dramatically in 2012, the uptake in the region was slow. Some of the objections that CEBC experienced were technological (e.g. solar does not work due to dust in the desert) and some were related to both the technology and the economics (e.g. solar is only available during the day. Why does that make sense for me?). Due to a supportive policy environment in the UAE including the contracted 1000MW at Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum Solar Park, many of these reservations have been disproved and gradually the region is warming up to solar. However, you still do not see as many solar panels as you would expect driving through the UAE. This is particularly the case in commercial and industrial sectors.
With Dubai and Abu Dhabi’s new net-metering programmes, this is starting to change. CEBC has recognised that this often an educational issue as to the benefits of solar and have invested large amounts of time and energy to change the mindset of businesses and encourage higher adoption of rooftop solar. CEBC has one eye to the future and recognises that storage is the next great revolution and as the economics get more and more attractive, a future with only renewables and storage becomes increasingly possible.
Daniel Zywietz, Enerwhere CEO, is a current Board Member and past Deputy Chair of the CEBC. Dubai-based Enerwhere has been on the forefront of the solar industry since 2012 and continues to bring innovative energy solutions to non-traditional solar markets across the UAE. The company is a market leader in the UAE’s grid-connected roof-top market, offering fully-financed solar rooftop solutions under DEWA’s Shams Dubai net metering initiative. However, it is also one of the only companies focused on the off-grid market where there is no regulatory support and where the technology and finance options for solar energy to date have not been so attractive.
Enerwhere’s award-winning technology and proven business model brings the benefits of solar energy to off-grid markets such as remote labor camps, resort islands, construction sites, mines, logistics and other industrial settings traditionally powered by diesel generators. Enerwhere is the world’s first provider of MW-scale transportable solar solutions.
In the off-grid sector, Enerwhere sells energy as a service, leasing their cleaner energy solutions requiring zero upfront client investment. Enerwhere has developed a solar-diesel hybrid system with a proprietary hybrid management technology to provide clients with reliable, high quality energy 24 hours per day. Using high-resolution remote monitoring technology, Enerwhere measures energy loads and efficiencies on a 30 second frequency allowing them monitor production, add solar capacity as energy demand increases, manage demand and to optimize power plant efficiency. Enerwhere’s transportable system means that it is one of the only companies in the world that can deploy and re-deploy commercial-scale solar systems in a matter of days. Enerwhere has strong in-house engineering capabilities and technical teams to ensure quick response times, high quality system delivery and excellent after sales service.
In this rapidly changing technology environment, Enerwhere is constantly innovating to expand the applications for solar in the commerciaV industrial sector, lower costs, and keep ahead of its competition. Some of its ‘first in the region’ projects include: -Ballasted, transportable solar mounting structures, enabling the use of solar PV in temporary power applications without the need for heavy foundations or time-consuming permitting.
- Rugged, high-resolution yet cost-effective data loggers allowing Enerwhere to create detailed energy demand profiles of customer installations when electricity bills are not available.
- High-power battery solutions for peak shaving of industrial loads like cranes, crushers, pumps, etc., reducing and ultimately eliminating the need for diesel generation. The introduction of energy storage represents a significant opportunity to increase solar deployment in the construction & industrial sectors in the region, which are so far lagging in adoption of solar technology.
- Ultra-high efficiency solar air-conditioning solutions to reduce the energy demand in camps & construction site offices in the hot summer months.
- Robotic cleaning solutions to mitigate the impact of dust of PV power generation and reduce the need for manual cleaning under the Middle East’s harsh desert climate.
- Ballasted trackers to provide steady power to large industrial and mining loads.
- Electric boats to reduce the fuel costs & environmental foot print of island resort operations.
In the off-grid space, understanding your market and their energy consumption is key. Enerwhere’s CEO, Daniel Zywietz, has imbued the company with a strong focus on data collection and analysis. His unwavering focus has driven Enerwhere to locate, map, measure and analyze current market opportunities, identify new market segments, then to deploy resources accordingly across the region. While continually investing in new technologies and energy efficiency solutions, Enerwhere has also invested significantly in its team. With its current headcount approaching 50, Enerwhere has offices in Dubai and Abu Dhabi in the UAE, and Kano in northern Nigeria with plans to expand to additional countries in the near term. Enerwhere’s philosophy of continually developing new, scalable energy solutions, supported by a strong team and corporate leadership, will allow Enerwhere to be a significant player in the region’s movement toward a green energy future.