Ben Eguzozie, with wire report
- Ambitious energy transition agendas to take place in Middle East, Africa
- Benin’s electricity capacity jumps 60 folds
Siemens Energy has revealed ten main priorities that can facilitate a successful long-term energy transition and enable countries to thrive in the lower-carbon world. These findings were based on the discussions held during its MEA Energy Week, attended by over 2,500 participants from around the world.
For instance, it emerged that decarbonized energy systems build more sustainable, inclusive and resilient economies.
Advancing the decarbonized energy transformation and fostering an ecosystem of collaboration and co-creation between stakeholders can help meet the world’s sustainability goals, while boosting economic growth, creating new jobs and industries and improving human welfare by 2050, the conference noted.
“The balance of fossil fuels and renewable energy sources is shifting towards a decarbonized portfolio and around 850 million people are still living without access to electricity, when according to studies, global demand for energy could even increase by around 25 percent by 2040,” a summary note from the conference stated.
According to Christian Bruch, president and CEO, Siemens Energy, the question is how to bridge into an affordable, reliable and sustainable power supply, while improving energy access.
According to the outcome of the conference, the ten key elements build a flexible framework for innovation, are broadly suitable to enable decarbonisation of the energy sector, act as guiding principles for governments, companies, and society, to strike the balance between energy security and the transition to a lower carbon future.
It outlined the ten elements to include: access to stable, affordable, and sustainable energy supply is a basic human right; availability of sustainable energy is the foundation for long-term economic prosperity; bespoke national energy roadmaps are vital to effectively realize the energy transition; leverage the individual strengths and power of multilateral relationships to accelerate the pace of the energy transition; utilizing highly efficient existing technology is paramount to bridge to a zero-carbon world; the energy system will transform into one integrated ecosystem for all new clean technologies; highly flexible and reliable transmission and distribution networks will be the intelligent backbone of a de-carbonized energy system; access to capital at reasonable costs will play a critical role in the energy transition; collaboration of strong partners will solve the challenges in financing the energy transition, and now is the time to act, 2020 marks the year of change in many aspects.
According to Damilola Ogunbiyi, the CEO and special representation of the UN secretary-general for Sustainable Energy for All (SEforAll), access to sustainable clean energy is the key that can help unlock a prosperous future for billions of people.
Goddy Jeddy-Agba, Nigeria’s minister of state, power, said, “renewable energy has the potential of meeting the nation’s energy needs in a sustainable manner, as well as creating jobs and improved livelihoods across the country.”
For Dona Jean-Claude Houssou, Benin Republic’s minister of energy, the energy vision for Benin is very clear, and it has developed a short-to-long term action plan that has energy as a priority for the country through four flagship projects which focus on: modernizing thermal fleet to produce energy, restructuring distribution company, generate power locally through partnerships and drive a regulatory framework that attracts investors. He said, in two to three years, the country has achieved electricity generation capacity from less than 1% to 60%, evidence that the plans put in place continue to produce the desired results.
Mohamed Jameel Al Ramahi, the CEO of Masdar, said, as renewables have become cheaper and more versatile, they have found their way into more solutions. “We see today electric mobility picking up globally. Energy storage, building infrastructure, they are also making other technologies more viable.”
For Reem Al Hashimy, minister of state for international cooperation, UAE, the country is working also to diversify its energy mix through combining renewable, nuclear and clean energy sources to meet the country’s economic requirements. He said since the world relies on energy from hydrocarbon sources, there has been a move to greener and more innovative energy sources.
Ahmad Al Khowaiter, CTO of Saudi Arabia’s oil company, Aramco, hydrogen allows low carbon energy to move from electricity to many other sectors, including sectors that are hard to decarbonize. He said renewables have traditionally been constrained to one geography. We can now integrate renewable energy systems and conventional hydrocarbon systems – a circular carbon economy concept.
Meanwhile, Ibrahim Al Jarbou, CEO, national grid Saudi Arabia, said, they are working hard to prepare grid networks to meet the country’s ambitious targets of generating 30 gigawatts of renewable energy by 2025 and 60 gigawatts by 2030.
Edna Schöne, member of the board, Euler Hermes, said some ambitious energy transition agendas will take place in the Middle East and Africa. “There are ambitious agendas which will make things happen. From our perspective as an ECA [Export Credit Agency], the agenda of the region fits in with Germany. I believe we will see more projects in the region in the coming years and hopefully we will be able to support those,” she said.
Dietmar Siersdorfer, managing director, Siemens Energy Middle East and UAE said 2020 marks the year to act and change in many aspects. “We have a unique opportunity to fast track the energy transition. Covid-19 has dramatically impacted economies around the world. Effort and capital are being directed towards a fast recovery. Uniting, and focusing our efforts, will enable developing and developed countries alike to advance to a prosperous and zero carbon future extremely quickly.”