UAE. According to Ernst & Young's 2012 Middle East and North Africa (MENA) Cleantech Survey Report, Saudi Arabia, UAE, Qatar and Jordan are the most attractive markets for clean technologies.
Saudi Arabia, UAE and Qatar are at the top of the attractive markets list, according to the respondents, due to their government plans, budgets and long-term strategies. These countries have also demonstrated investments in large initiatives such as KACARE, Masdar and the ‘Green’ FIFA World Cup 2022. Although Jordan has limited financial resources, a new law was issued on renewable energy, which may help create new jobs by increasing local content requirements for investments in renewable energy.
Nimer AbuAli, MENA Head of Cleantech, Ernst & Young says: “We see growing confidence in MENA Cleantech investments this year. The respondents were more optimistic than last year, mainly due to government support and various initiatives in the different countries in MENA. We expect this trend to continue as more Cleantech projects are realized and more we see the immense benefits of renewable energy.”
79% of regional respondents expect an increase in Cleantech investments in the region over the next five years. They also expect considerable increases in Cleantech investments in the GCC, reflecting the impressions of investors after recent announcements in the GCC and ambitious plans of Saudi Arabia and the UAE. 94% of these respondents were more optimistic about Cleantech investments increasing in the GCC, compared with 73% in North Africa and 67% in the Levant.
The European Union and MENA governments and companies are planning to connect the region via an electrical energy grid capable of providing MENA countries with considerable electricity and Europe with 15% of its electricity needs by 2050 (the Desertec project).
Electricity will be generated mostly through renewable energy. 54% of the respondents still believe that the Desertec project will be realized compared with 62% last year, and 36% believe that the project could be realized but on a smaller scale and at a reduced size.
Drivers of Cleantech
The survey indentified four main drivers of Cleantech growth across the MENA region: government policy, cost of the renewable energy, desire to reduce the use of fossil fuels and increased business efficiency.
Job creation was also cited as an important driver for growing Cleantech investment in the Levant as a result of population growth and elevated rates of unemployment. According to Ernst & Young’s second quarterly Rapid-Growth Markets Forecast, over 15 million young people will enter the region’s workforce over the next decade. Cleantech may create employment opportunities for the relatively young and fast-growing labour force in MENA.
Cleantech technologies best suited for MENA
Almost one-third of the respondents in MENA favour solar energy as the number one potential source of renewable energy irrespective of their territories. In a dramatic change from last year’s results, respondents selected energy efficiency as the second potential growth area across the region, with slight changes from one territory to another, followed by water and green buildings.
A majority of the respondents (75%) cited Photovoltaic (PV) as the main solar technology for the MENA region followed by just 19% that named Concentrating Solar Power (CSP). Respondents justified their selection mainly by the price per watt compared with the other technologies.
“We see a change in the contribution of solar, water and energy efficiency technology to per capita consumption in the region as the costs for each technology deployment is declining. For the GCC, energy efficiency and green buildings have become hot topics due to climatic conditions and high electricity consumption,” added Nimer.
Barriers to investment
Respondents cited insufficient government support as the main barrier to renewable energy investments across all countries in the MENA region. But respondents expressed diverging views about other challenges facing the development of renewable energy.
Price competitiveness is the main obstacle for the GCC countries as their direct cost of oil barrel production compared to investment in renewable energy is low. Price comparison is a lesser concern in the Levant and some North African countries that are net importers of energy.
“The absence of clear regulation and policy framework continues to discourage investors and the private sector from investments in Cleantech and these could be areas that governments can focus on in the coming months,” concluded Nimer.
About the survey
For the second year, Ernst & Young co-hosted the second annual Project Village at the 2012 World Future Energy Summit (WFES) in Abu Dhabi. With projects representing over 1 GW of capacity and a cumulative investment of US$4 billion present in 2012, it is one of the foremost platforms for renewable energy investment in MENA. Ernst & Young has taken this opportunity of surveying experts in the Project Village and at WFES and leveraging its strong regional network in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) to launch its second MENA Cleantech Survey for 2012.
In order to gauge sentiment regarding Cleantech development in MENA, Ernst & Young surveyed 190 persons from different backgrounds such as banking, technology provider, public and private sectors, NGO and academic and civil society from different countries in the MENA region.
About Ernst & Young MENA
The MENA practice of Ernst & Young has been operating in the region since 1923. For over 88 years, we have evolved to meet the legal and commercial developments of the region. Across the region, we have over 4,200 people united across 20 offices and 15 Arab countries, sharing the same values and an unwavering commitment to quality. We make a difference by helping our people, our clients and our wider communities achieve their potential.
For more information, please visit www.ey.com/me
About Ernst & Young
Ernst & Young is a global leader in assurance, tax, transaction and advisory services. Worldwide, our 152,000 people are united by our shared values and an unwavering commitment to quality. We make a difference by helping our people, our clients and our wider communities achieve their potential.
For more information, please visit www.ey.com