In an exclusive conversation with Solar Quarter Middle East magazine, Mohammed Al Taani, Secretary General, Arab Renewable Energy Commission AREC talked about the impact of the pandemic on the solar sector in the Middle East region. He spoke about the challenges and also highlighted the recent work done by AREC in the RE space and his outlook on the ME solar sector.
1. Could you please brief us about the organisations you are associated with and their role in the RE sector?
The Arab Renewable Energy Commission AREC is a non profit organisation working under the umbrella of the Arab Economy Unity Council and work for technology transfer of renewable energy and energy efficiency to Arab countries. It also encourages renewable energy Investments in Arab countries which is expected to reach up to 700 billions dollars by 2030.
AREC works hard to change the individual behaviour in Arab countries to reduce the high consumptions of energy, water and food. AREC aims to promote meaningful ways for expanding the use of alternative energy sources rather than the use of nonrenewable, and therefore it encourages activities and investments to develop the use of alternative sources, including conferences in all Arab areas aiming at bringing together the largest number of Arab States and their companies. The Arab Renewable Energy Congress, is the International Investment Forum for Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency.
2. How has covid impacted the Solar industry in the Middle East and how has the region tackled this crisis?
From the first economic crisis in 2009 until 2020 the second economic crisis the Arab countries lost more than one trillion dollars because of oil unstable prices. COVID-19 has encouraged the implementation of solar systems for both PV systems for both on grid and offgrid systems and also the solar thermal systems because it is much more competitive and cheaper than the traditional sources of energy. This in parallel with Artificial intelligence IA and Internet of Things IoTs as the keys for the 5th Industry Revolution 5IR. So we need New Energy Dynamics to improve the energy policies in Arab countries.
3. What are some key challenges being faced by the Solar industry in the region which you would want to be addressed immediately?
Solar energy will become the king of energy and more competitive than traditional sources of energy but this force and request all Arab countries to review their energy policies and strategies as we are in the beginning of the 5th Industry Revolution which needs a new mechanism of new energy scenarios in the new world which is shifting from profit to benefit.
4. Please highlight some recent work by Arab Renewable Energy Commission towards facilitating and promoting the culture of Renewable Energy.
Arab Renewable Energy Commission AREC already issued the the 4th Smart sustainability for all which is targeting the following
- Smart Energy
- Renewable energy target 30 % by 2030
- Energy efficiency improvements 30% by 2030
- Smart Vehicles EVs 40 by 2040
- Smart cities 40 by 2040
- Smart grid 40%by 2040
5. Lastly, how do you see the solar sector progressing in the Middle East market in the next 5 years?
I think it will be very promising as it is more competitive to traditional sources of energy and it is the main clean energy source to cover the expected electricity demand because of all technologies to reduce global warming and environmental impacts.