Renewable energy: Huge development potential in the Middle East and North Africa

Flasbarth: Sun and wind can become basis of economic development in Mediterranean region

“More wind and solar energy can support economic development in North Africa and the Middle East and also secure climate-neutral access to energy for its population,” explains Jochen Flasbarth, President of the Federal Environment Agency (UBA). He and Morocco’s Minister of Environment and Energy, Fouad Douiri, opened a two-day international conference on renewable energy in the Middle East and North Africa  (MENAREC - Middle East and North African Renewable Energy Conference) on Tuesday, 15 May 2012, in Marrakesh. In addition to clean energy, renewables could also provide long-term jobs in the region. According to UBA, wind and solar energy in particular hold huge development potential in the countries of North Africa. This potential is on a scale such that ­- in addition to supplying energy urgently needed to the region - cooperation on energy supply to countries in the European energy area is also possible. Such a cooperation effort between the European energy area and North Africa could move the vast area ahead towards meeting all its demand for energy from renewable sources in the long term. “Renewable energy provides North Africa and the Middle East with excellent opportunities to develop a green economy. In places where people do not yet have access to clean energy, wind and solar energy can become the backbone of safe and climate-friendly energy supply while creating local jobs and value added”, said Flasbarth.

Some 500 experts from politics, finance and the renewable energy sectors are meeting in Marrakesh from 15 to 16 May 2012 to explore options and means to advancing the use of renewable energy in North Africa and the Middle East. It is the fifth conference of its kind. Since the first MENAREC Conference in 2004, which served to prepare the region for the first international conference, “Renewables 2004“ in Bonn, MENAREC has become a successful forum of collaboration among Arab nations and with Germany on the development of renewable energy in the Mediterranean countries.

The issues at the focus of this conference are how to speed up the development of renewable energy in the North Africa, the experience gained in Europe through its own development of renewable energy, which approaches to promoting and financing of projects exist, and how renewable energy can be integrated into the existing local economic sectors (agriculture, tourism, industry, and water supply).

The goal of developing renewable energy in North Africa already resulted in the foundation in 2009 of a consortium known as DESERTEC Industrial Initiative (DII), whose members are from industry and finance (desert electricity project).This industrial initiative aims to develop a sound basis for investment through feasibility studies on the potential and technology needed to supply solar energy to both North Africa and Europe. In addition, Germany will further develop its energy partnerships with Tunisia and Morocco. These partnerships focus on issues of solar power use, power grid development and cooperation in development.



Umweltbundesamt Hauptsitz

Wörlitzer Platz 1
06844 Dessau-Roßlau

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