Solar energy: Saudi Arabia ‘sets regional benchmark’

Solar energy: Saudi Arabia ‘sets regional benchmark’
Updated 01 May 2013

Solar energy: Saudi Arabia ‘sets regional benchmark’

Solar energy: Saudi Arabia ‘sets regional benchmark’

Saudi Arabia, Egypt and Morocco are leading the MENA region’s Renewable Energy efforts, according to a report from Ernst & Young
The latest edition of the quarterly report showed that all three countries were highly ranked in terms of wind, solar, and all renewable indices, providing a benchmark for the rest of the MENA region to follow.
Ernst & Young’s Renewable Energy Country Attractiveness Indices ranks 40 countries based on their renewable energy markets on a quarterly basis.
The report’s solar index showed that Saudi Arabia increased in ranking from 14 to 12, after Makkah Municipality’s recent announcement of its plans to build a solar power plant.
This initiative, announced in Q4 2012, would make Makkah the first city in Saudi Arabia to develop a renewable energy project.
The Kingdom’s IDEA Polysilicon Company (IPC) also has plans to reach financial close on the funding for its Yanbu project by the end of 2013.
The project, which will cost $ 1.1 billion, aims to produce 10,000 metric tons of polysilicon and 800 mega watts of solar Wafers per year, which will be used to produce solar panels for the whole Middle East region.
Compiled by Ernst & Young’s Renewables Financial Advisers, the report takes an in-depth look at each country’s individual technologies, renewable infrastructures, wind and solar indices, as well as an overall renewables index.
In addition, the report provides deep insights into the renewables market, the recent trends and advances, and the challenges and outlook predicted for the future.
Nimer Abu Ali, MENA head of Cleantech at Ernst & Young said: “We are very pleased to see the region’s dedication to green power. “
He added: “The UAE’s most notable performance was in the solar index, where it was ranked number 12. The Abu Dhabi Fund for Development has made a significant concessional loan of $ 250 million to help support government-led and backed renewable projects in developing countries. We look forward to seeing the future contributions of the UAE and the rest of MENA to the renewable energy market.”
The report says Egypt’s rank rose by one point on the onshore wind index.
The increase is attributed to Egypt’s recent announcement of its plans to hold an auction for the right to use land in the Gulf of Suez in order to build wind power plants, which will have a capacity of up to 600 MW.
Morocco saw an increase in its ranking in the ‘All Renewables Index’, which provides an overall score for each country for all renewable energy technologies.
This increase is attributed to a series of new initiatives it has been pursuing.
Morocco recently announced its plans to install 4GW of wind and solar capacity by 2020 and the recent expansion of its project pipeline signified that its plans are still on track.
In addition, in Q4 2012 the Moroccan government agreed to fund the first 160 MW phase of its flagship Ouarzazate CSP plant and is looking to proceed to the second phase by the end of 2013.
There are also plans for an additional site, due in 2014. Morocco’s National Electricity and Water Office is also planning a wind project which will comprise of five separate wind farms.
“Despite global and national efforts, there is no doubt that the economic recession has had an impact on the renewables market,” said Nimer.
“Due to the global credit crunch, banking crisis, and restricted availability of capital for infrastructure projects, the recession has had an adverse effect on industry growth and funding. However, despite these negative factors, the overall market has continued to add capacity. The future still looks promising,” said Nimer.