I know I know, the proposed federation of six gulf countries has nothing to do with anything remotely green. I also realize that the ulterior motive is to gain political strength and stability in the region and it is possible that this may even escalate the unrest, given that not everyone is happy with this union. However, if the coalition is indeed modeled after the European Union, then maybe these countries Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates, Qatar,Kuwait, Bahrain, and Oman could learn a few green lessons from the European Union and serve as the platform that can promote the cause of green energy and cleantech in the region. Let us look at the ways this can be done.
1. If the GCC could make green laws:
At the moment there are no country wide comprehensive environmental laws in any of the countries in the Gulf region. Something along the lines of the European Union Network for the Implementation and Enforcement of Environmental Law can really help provide the region with a framework for policy makers, agencies and green companies to exchange ideas, and encourages the development of enforcement structures and best practices.
2. By creating funds for use of Cleantech
The proposed federation can promote the use of new and renewable energy sources in an intelligent manner by providing technical and financial support to those contemplating the switch to greener options. The EU has set ambitious targets to achieve clean energy. There is however full realization that use of available technology is not optimum and in order to push the use of these, Intelligent Energy – Europe programme comes into play.
The Intelligent Energy – Europe (IEE) programme is meant to encourage the use of clean and sustainable solutions. It supports the use and dissemination of green knowledge and know-how and promotes intelligent use of existing energy sources.
3. By creating funds for development of cleantech
Although there are a few standalone initiatives at each individual country level where funds are set aside or scholarships offered for cleantech and renewable energy, there is a lack of concerted effort at the regional level. The federation can serve as the ideal platform for such a move. According to estimates, the GCC will need to build up to 80,000 MW of additional power generation capacity by 2020 to meet soaring demand and by promoting the development of clean energy, the region will not only meet the escalation in demand but will also have a sustainable energy solution at its disposal.
Something along the lines of The European Renewable Energy Fund can address the issue of power generation while being sustainable. The fund can make equity investments in renewable energy projects and businesses promoting and developing renewable sources of energy including wind and solar PV.
Countries in the region at an individual level have realized the potential of cleantech and are pursuing significant cleantech initiatives. Whether it is to diversify the energy related revenue sources like in the case of Abu Dhabi and Saudi Arabia or to relay on cleantech as the answer to its energy woes like in the case of Jordan.
According to research, government policy is a primary driver for cleantech growth, and the federation can work wonders for the growth of sustainable energy solutions if they decide to take it on as part of its agenda alongside political control and show of muscle.
No harm in dreaming right?
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