Exchanging Best Practices to Incorporate Variable Renewable Energy into Long-term Planning in Arab Countries

 

The League of Arab States (LAS) in cooperation with the Regional Centre for Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency (RCREEE), the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA)  and the Islamic Development Bank (IsDB) organized a workshop on “ Exchanging Best Practices to Incorporate Variable Renewable Energy into Long-term Planning in Arab Countries” on 21-24 April 2019 in Amman, Jordan.

The workshop aimed to exchange and discuss the regional - as well as global - best practices to enhance capacity expansion planning to achieve significant RE deployment.

H.E. Minister of Energy and Mineral Resources, Eng. Hala Zawati, launched the workshop with an opening statement about “Jordan Renewable Energy Readiness Study” which will be prepared by IRENA as a tool for assessing the performance of renewable energy in the Kingdom.  In her opening note, Minister Zawati said, “Investment in renewable energy in Jordan will exceed 4 billion dollars by 2021. Next year, renewable energy is planned to cover fifth of Jordan's electricity needs”. Besides, H.E stressed upon the importance of renewable energy to decrease the cost of imported energy in Jordan specially that about 10% of Jordan’s GDP in 2018 was utilized to cover imported energy bill. Eng. Zawati also emphasized upon the attractiveness of Jordan's legislative environment. “Since 2014, Jordan has developed a legislative and regulatory environment that attracts renewable energy investments. This enabled Jordan to develop renewable energy projects (solar energy and wind) with a total capacity of 1100 MW forming almost 10% of the generated electricity in 2018” said Eng. Zawati.

Finally, Eng. Zawati explained that renewable energy share is expected to increase to 20% in 2020 against the 1% achieved in 2014. Accordingly, Jordan would succeed in achieving the goal of the national strategy for the energy sector.

Head of Energy Department at the League of Arab States, Eng. Jamila Mattar also confirmed on the importance of the workshop topic. In her opening statement, Eng. Jamila explained that international reports expect the total global spending on energy projects to reach $45 trillion dollars over the next 40 years while the Arab countries rely almost entirely on oil and natural gas to meet their energy requirements.  “According to 2017 statistics, 95 percent of the total energy consumption in the Arab countries reply on non-renewable sources. This highlights the importance of a regional initiative to promote renewable energy by encouraging the integration of more renewable sources in the energy mix in the Arab world through improved planning practices of energy.

Finally, RCREEE Executive Director Dr. Badr tackled the importance of benefiting from the experiences of Arab countries such as Jordan and Bahrain. These countries are witnessing a huge transformation in renewable energy field and we ought to benefit from their journey and spread it in the Arab world.

Over the course of four days, participants from Jordan, Egypt, Somalia, Palestine, Iraq, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Qatar, Algeria and Libya presented their countries' experiences in the development of long-term scenarios to integrate renewable energy and increase the proportion of electricity produced from these sources. The organizers offered a range of mechanisms to assist countries in this regard.