Will solar energy development survive in North Africa and Middle East?

libya

In recent weeks the world has seen a dramatic change in the political structure in North Africa and Middle East. With all eyes of the world on the region the question remains what does the future economy hold and what does this mean for investment and the development of solar projects.

On first impression you are lead to think that solar energy development has been put to the back burner as these countries prioritize socio-economic stability, but that would not be telling the full story. There are two strong influences which have meant solar development is still on track in 2011.

Firstly, with the price of oil reaching $120 a barrel earlier this year and the fact that it has only dropped to $115 this week means the world is fast realizing the vulnerability of relying on oil to meet the majority of our energy demands. Secondly, the nuclear power debate has been resurrected following the events in Japan, further promoting the use of alternative energy sources to meet our increasing power demands.

Dii a unique private industry joint venture, with the aim of exporting power to Europe have taken the perspective that the on-going transitions may perhaps delay their work temporarily, but they remain confident that it will not have any negative impact on the joint ambition to contribute to long-term prosperity by making better use of sustainable energy from the deserts.

Quite the contrary, they are convinced that the significance of large-scale renewable development for the local population and for export to EU will even grow, regardless of the political scenario. Desertec is also about the development of new industries in MENA, about investments, the creation of jobs and the transfer of knowledge and know-how.Libyan solar energy facility

Paul van Son, CEO of Dii will be speaking more about this at MENASOL 2011 taking place 4-5 May in Morocco. This is a key event in the solar calendar as senior level executives attend to  gain critical market intelligence on the region and network with government officials and industrial heavyweights.

Heidi Hafes, Event Director of MENASOL 2011 said ‘We are daily communication with the CSP and PV industry and are acutely aware of the lucrative opportunities the North Africa and Middle East region presents these companies. That is why MENASOL 2011 remains an important forum that facilitates valuable business knowledge and making important connections. We are pleased to say that the some of the delegates already confirmed include ABB, Siemens, Abengoa, Applied Materials, Dow, Alstom, Areva, BP Solar, Schott Solar, Total, Taqa Arabia, which illustrate the point that solar in this region continues to be important to their business and is being pursed.

Source: Renewable Energy World

Many oil producing countries are situated in the arid parts of North Africa and the Middle East.  These regions also happen to be ideal for solar energy production with high solar radiation rates.  Countries such as Libya have vast oil reserves so it is encouraging that they are developing solar power for the future when (not if) the oil reserves finally come to an end.

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