German Ambassador Dieter Haller opened the three-day “Renewables made in Germany” exhibition yesterday at the InterContinental Hotel in Riyadh.
“Let me begin by saying that Germany has abandoned nuclear energy not because it has suddenly become afraid of technology. On the contrary, it has decided to massively increase its share of renewables in its primary energy mix and in particular in electricity generation,” he said in his opening address.
He added that this has been done to save oil and gas resources for better use than as fuel for power generation.
“Using renewable energy will help diversify the economy and create jobs for the young population. As of now, 350,000 jobs have been created by using renewable energy. If it could be done in Germany, it could also be done in Saudi Arabia,” he said.
He added that using renewable energy also helps save the environment and prevent global warming.
The opening ceremony was attended by German Embassy officials who included Counselor for Economic Affairs Peter Hofman, German-Saudi Arabian Liaison Office (GESALO) for Economic Affairs Representative Mohammed Trad, InterContinental Hotels Group, members and other invitees.
Haller added that 25 percent of Germany's electricity generation comes from renewable sources and 12 percent of its final energy consumption. “There are countries with even higher percentages but Germany is the first major industrialized economy to have changed its energy mix in such a manner,” Haller said.
He added that renewable energies are based on sophisticated mechanical and electrical engineering, and Germany with its outstanding research institutes like Fraunhofer, Helmotz and Max Planck as well as innovative companies, is still very much a country of inventors and engineers. “This is the reason why Germany is globally second to none in the field of renewable energy technology. And since we are determined not only to develop but to deploy this technology, you learn from our experiences, which are a steady 'learning curve,' sometimes not free from also correcting mistakes,” he said.
On Germany's experience, he said: “Firstly, you have to give as much attention to the extension and the management of our electricity grid as to the power generating plants. You have to balance supply and demand, over the day and over the year. This — and the increasing interlinkage between the grids of European partners — opened up a completely new area of technology called smart grid.”
This includes sophisticated power distribution solutions, close monitoring of supply and demand, a flexible arrangement of main and secondary lines, and decentralization of energy generation where possible, and a variety of energy storage options,” he added.
Secondly, he said, it was crucial — on the policy side — for the success of the energy changes to involve all stakeholders. It is advisable to pursue an integrated approach and balance out the interests of the private sector, the consumers and the government.
“You have to find the right balance between the market forces and government subsidies. This is what we lay out in front of you today. We feel that Germany has much to offer and we like to invite you to share our experiences of what is possible with regards to renewable energy,” Haller said.
The 18th Conference of State Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention has started its deliberations in Doha, Qatar.
“For Germany, climate change is real. As a consequence, we see the sea-level rising, the ice of our glaciers melting, parts of the country drying and the incidence of forest fires increasing. Climate change is one of the most important driving forces behind the development of renewable energy,” the envoy said, adding that renewable energy and energy efficiency are above all key elements for readapting economies to the path of sustainability.
He also introduced the German Embassy's partners in promoting the use of renewable energies such as Green Gulf, Intercontinental Hotels, GESALO, Phoenix Solar, Centrotherm, Schott Solar, Gerber Architects, and Munich Re.
Green Gulf is the first private industrial initiative in the Kingdom to extend the solar value chain beyond the production of polysilicon, and to embark on the production of silicon wafers and photovoltaic modules.
GESALO disseminates information on the whole variety of technology available in Germany and helps in the formation of partnership between German and Saudi companies.
Phoenix Solar is the building arm of the Solar Park for the new KAPSARC Research Center of Saudi Aramco. Centrotherm is major manufacturer of silicon for photo-voltaics and other applications.
Schott Solar is a world-class provider of Concentrated Solar Power (CSP) technology. Gerber Architects is building the new National Library on King Fahd Road, and is presenting a model for low-energy high-rise building.
Munich Re is one of the world's biggest re-insurance companies and has contributed significantly to research into the link between climate change and the frequency of extreme weather events. It proposes insurance solutions for a better adaptation to climate change.
The exhibition will continue in Riyadh until Nov. 28, and then move to Dammam on Nov. 30-Dec. 2, and to Jeddah on Dec. 5-7.