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Region ripe for renewables, says CESI Middle East

‘It is inevitable we will shift from fossil fuels to clean energy,’ says senior official from the company

| | Sep 4, 2017 | 8:00 am
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The GCC region is steadily moving towards clean energy, according to CESI Middle East. Dr Floris Hendrikus Schulze, Managing Director, CESI, said this on the basis of the profile of projects the company has been heavily involved in over the past few years, which includes global integration and rooftop solar projects in Saudi Arabia, UAE, Oman, Jordan and, most recently, Bahrain.

“The region is excellent,” Dr Schulze said. “Three or four years ago, when we set up the Middle East operations, I predicted that the GCC region will be a renewable hub for Europe, Asia and Africa because of its strategic geographic location. [There are] a lot of projects connecting the region to Europe and Asia. Many of these developments are kicking off in the region.” One example, he said, is Bahrain’s increasing focus on renewables.

Dr Schulze explained that the GCC region enjoys a lot of sunshine, though temperatures are also high, and there is a proliferation of dust. He noted that technology has advanced in such a way to address this, proving that it is an ideal time to look into such projects.

Aside from the environmental benefits from a political perspective, he added, it is an important development for a country like Bahrain to be standing in the international stage by entering the clean energy programme, especially when, at the end of the day, this is the general direction where most countries are moving. “I think it is inevitable we will shift from fossil fuels and move to renewable and clean energy,” he said. “It’s already taking place; how fast will depend on the coming years.”

He added that experience has afforded stakeholders with a lot of lessons, which, in turn, has been supporting the fast development of rooftop solar and PV panels as well as inverters. This, he said, is because more people recognise the viability of solar energy as a source of electricity in the future. “Those providing electricity by using conventional generation, they need to change, because their way of operating will be different,” he said. “Globally, everybody is acknowledging it as a way forward, you see things automatically integrated in the master planning and layout of smart cities. Smart cities are an example of renewable development.”

Furthermore, Dr Schulze noted that increasing recognition of Solar PVs viability as a renewable energy option has decreased its price, making it more cost competitive and, thus, more attractive. In Africa, he said, many have become dependent on PV panels for their electricity supply, and there has been an uptake in developments combining PV with diesel generation. He added that CESI has witnessed a number of similar projects and requests to reduce the consumption of diesel and reduce impact on the environment by combining it with solar energy. Dr Schulze said that from the point of view of customers, it is an attractive method to offset energy consumption and reduce their overall electricity bill.

Speaking again on the GCC perspective, Schulze said that Oman is heavily involved in developing hybrid system diesel generators with PV. He remarked that with countries such as the UAE housing test facilities and notable organisations doing R&D, things are truly “getting interesting in the GCC region”.

 


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