GCC moves toward a greener economy as energy demand rises

Future sustainable energy
Future sustainable energy

JEDDAH/DUBAI — There is genuine concern to develop renewable energy in the region. According to the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA), Gulf countries have rising energy demand and regional electricity consumption is growing at almost 8% a year, and the six countries are in the top 14 per capita emitters of carbon dioxide in the world.

The level of awareness of the need to develop green and sustainable built environments is rapidly increasing, and there are concerted efforts across the entire supply chain to promote smart practices. According to a report by MEED titled ‘Renewable Energy in the Mena Region 2017,’ the MENA region requires an estimated $200 billion worth of investment in the coming years to meet the increasing demand for power. This is in addition to the upgrade of existing facilities to accommodate the surge.

Saudi Arabia is set to reduce its dependence on oil and enable sustained and diversified economy. The Kingdom aims to generate 70% of its power from natural gas. The remaining 30% is planned to be produced from renewable and other sources.

The UAE is promoting renewable energy to meet rapidly growing energy demand and to preserve as much of its domestic oil for export as possible. In 2011, the Dubai government set a target to generate 1% of all energy from renewable sources by 2020 and 5% by 2030. The country currently generates approximately 80% of its electricity from natural gas. In fact, it is one of the few countries in the region taking a comprehensive approach towards solar through initiatives such as Shams Dubai.

Kuwait is seeking to build renewable energy capacity to preserve its oil and natural gas resources for export.

Bahrain has a target to achieve 6% national electrical energy efficiency by year 2025, and a 5% contribution from renewable energies by the year 2025, rising further to 10% by the year 2035. The Minister of Electricity and Water Affairs explained that the Kingdom of Bahrain has increasingly recognized the growing importance of renewable energy as demand increases. In particular, solar photovoltaic systems have been a particular focus of interest for the Kingdom. In fact, CESI was tasked by the Sustainable Energy Unit to find solutions which include connecting renewable generation projects, increasing solar distributed generators and providing recommendations to speed up the growth of the PV market.

As the energy sector in the GCC moves toward a greener economy, sustainability, renewables, energy efficiency, energy trading, interconnections with neighboring countries and regions to meet future demand and requirements, quality assurance and quality control of related components will become of the utmost importance to prevent setbacks in these important new developments. This is where technical power consultants in the entire energy value chain like CESI come in. Their independent testing, inspections and certification services become important to support the sector in securing and ensuring the quality of supplied and manufactured components and meeting the future requirements.

CESI, a global technical consulting and engineering company which started its operations in the Middle East in 2012 and is among the few notified bodies in the industry involved in regulatory framework development, envisions to ‘shape a better energy future.’

“We are committed to facilitating the region’s ambition of ecological footprint reduction,” said Matteo Codazzi, Chief Executive Officer of CESI. “We address the region’s critical sustainability issues and work towards achieving green goals including that Vision 2030 Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, UAE Vision 2021, Bahrain National plans for renewable energy and energy efficiency and Oman rooftop initiatives and renewables initiatives - in ensuring sustainable development while preserving the environment – by sharing best practices and know-how in our ventures in the Middle East. We want to bring about transformational change in the development of sustainable economy.”

CESI is proud to have led the interconnection of GCC grid to neighboring region including Africa, Europe, Asia – to allow trading energies in the region to reduce oil and gas cost, and which can also generate income for the country. In Saudi Arabia, CESI developed a system of automated meters for ECRA and smart grids strategy with the Electricity & Co-Generation Regulatory Authority (ECRA) and supported King Fahd University of Petroleum and Minerals (KFUPM) and National Grid Saudi Arabia in developing a strategy on AMR for Transmission and interconnection projects with Saudi Electricity Company. Consultancy and Engineering contract to develop HVDC long distance Interconnection between Central-Western Region of The Kingdom. The new 800 km HDVC link will not only increase the power generation capacity of local networks but also provide a reliable back-up energy supply in emergency situations. It will also support the new developments of renewables.

When asked why testing and certification services to the electromechanical industry are important, Floris Hendrikus Schulze, Managing Director CESI Middle East FZE, said: “Testing and certification of equipment that distributes electricity will validate that the meters actually show the correct value of energy consumption. From an environmental point of view, mitigating the effects of climate change promotes sustainability. Having properly working meters contribute to the overall welfare of the users by reducing energy costs in the long-term, and enhancing their sense of physical well-being.”

CESI is participating at the Saudi Electricity Forum that kicked off yesterday (Oct.10) at Al Faisaliah Hotel, Riyadh. The forum will culminate on Thursday (Oct. 12). — SG