BE2C2 Report — Fourteen Arab countries of the Middle East North Africa region (MENA) signed on Thursday at the Arab League headquarters in Egypt a memorandum of understanding (MoU) for establishing an Arab joint electricity market on the sidelines of 12th session of the Arab Ministerial Council for Electricity.
The MoU was signed by energy ministers or assigned representatives of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, Algeria, Sudan, Iraq, Oman, Qatar, Union of the Comoros, Kuwait, Egypt, Libya, Morocco and Yemen.
Saudi Arabia’s energy minister Eng. Khalid Al-Falih who signed the MOU on behalf of the Kingdom according to Albilad English Daily online, is also holding a 2-day seminar this week on investments for renewables in capital Riyadh.
The Kingdom aims to attract more than $50 billion in public-private investments from local and foreign companies for renewable energy by 2023. The UAE and Egypt has similar plans in the works also.
The Kingdom has set a target of 9.5 GW of renewable energy by 2023. Recently it shortlisted 51 companies for solar and wind projects. It invited local and international firms to seek pre-qualification for bidding on two projects, a 300 MW solar facility, and a 400 MW wind power development. Aramco is installing wind turbines in the northeast region of Turaif to power its project.
The energy ministry said it received 128 applications, from which it chose 27 firms to bid on the sun power project and 24 for the wind farm.
The MoU signed in Cairo for regional cooperation in energy (fossil, renewable) generation, transmission and distribution underlines the League’s commitment to support the interconnection of electricity networks across the region.
The Assistant Secretary General and Chairman of the Economic Affairs Sector at the Arab League, Kamal Hassan Ali, said that the agreement comes into effect once the agreement had been signed by seven of the 14 countries, reported Kuwait News Agency (KUNA).
The council discussed the Arab strategy for sustainable energy, including monitoring the development of renewable energy in the region, as well as maintaining energy efficiency and reducing oil consumption. The meeting’s participants also welcomed the cooperation with the International Agency for Renewable Energy.
According to an official statement by the Arab council, renewable energy sources currently account for 18 per cent of the world’s total energy production, which is scheduled to double by 2030. This strategy would be helped by moving to renewable energy systems, and therefore reducing carbon dioxide emission levels.
Following the 2015 Paris Climate Agreement, MENA countries have been increasingly investing in the renewable energy sector as a new source of generating electricity, which has had a notable impact in reducing total fuel consumption, especially after the dramatic fall in crude oil prices.
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