If the MENA region plays smart, it could benefit from a huge influx of Concentrated Solar Power projects, according to a new World Bank study. In cooperation with Ernst & Young, Fraunhofer Institute for Systems and Innovation Research (ISI) and the Fraunhofer Institute for Solar Energy Systems (ISE) found that although Spain and United States are currently leading the solar race, the MENA region has the best potential and widest application.
A pet favorite of the World Bank’s Clean Technology Fund (CTF) and a contender for financing under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), five MENA countries in particular need to take certain steps to realize this solar and financial infusion.
In order to receive an estimated $14.3 billion added value and create up to 80,000 new jobs, the following are necessary:
- Dismantle market barriers to innovation (such as subsidies for dirtier energy sources);
- Create a climate-specific financial support network;
- Generate revenue from sales to Europe (without creating suspicion locally);
- Establish local incentives including power purchase agreements, feed-in-tariffs, and tax rebates.
What has to happen to make solar power in the MENA region sustainable in the long-term:
- Bring down generation costs;
- Establish manufacturing centers and promote in-house innovation that will be eligible for international financing.
How can this be achieved? What strategic steps will bring local small and large scale businesses closer to their solar dream?
- Establish targets;
- Ramp up R&D;
- Create regional networks and streamline integration policy;
- Coalesce technology parks;
- Help smaller businesses access the most up-to-date technology via innovation platforms;
- Cooperate internationally to adopt mutually-beneficial projects and establish easily implemented licensing procedures.
How can stakeholders stay informed and involved?
- Conduct feasibility studies to evaluate the most current status of supply chain;
- Develop a regional trade association;
- Nurture educational and training programs;
- Establish university-level CSP programs for engineers and other technical graduates.
Since 2007, CSP projects in the MENA region have doubled. This study has found that Egypt, Algeria, Jordan, Morocco, and Tunisia have what it takes – both in terms of its solarity and industrial and technological prowess – to lift its countries (and therefore its neighbors) out of its fossil-fueled slump.
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