Renewable Energies further pave their way across Arab States

Nov 17, 2016

Morocco, Jordan, Egypt, UAE and Palestine hold the top five ranks for their efforts in scaling up renewable energy.

Marrakech, Morocco – The Regional Center for Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency (RCREEE) launches the 3rd edition of its flagship publication, the Arab Energy Future Index™ (AFEX) Renewable Energy 2016 report in partnership with the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and its Arab Climate Resilience Initiative (ACRI). RCREEE executive Director, Dr. Ahmed Badr presents the report key findings in a side event to the 22nd Conference of the Parties to the UN Climate Convention (COP22) in Morocco. Additionally, speakers present lessons on de-risking scaled-up investments into low-carbon solutions. The event is hosted by the Islamic Development Bank Group (IDBG).

AFEX is the first Arab index dedicated to monitoring and analyzing sustainable energy competitiveness in the Arab region and offers both quantitative and qualitative analysis on key renewable energy and energy efficiency markets. AFEX Renewable Energy 2016 report expanded its geographical scope adding three new countries to track the progress achieved by an overall of 20 Arab countries in the MENA region.

AFEX RE report analysis Arab countries’ progress based on four criteria; Finance and Investment Climate, Market Structure, Policy Framework and Institutional Capacity. The report demonstrates how policy frameworks are gradually evolving to foster a sustainable energy transition. Most countries now have specific renewable energy targets with detailed national action plans and supporting policies such as feed-in-tariffs, net-metering, and competitive bidding.

“The analyses and recommendations of this report provide important insights to all Arab countries on the many potential routes forward regarding sustainable energy systems,” underlined Dr. Ahmed Badr, Executive Director at RCREEE. “The report speaks to all stakeholders who are key to future of renewable energy expansion in the region including governmental and non-governmental decision makers; industry and academic experts; community and local-level leaders; the media and the general public.”

“This report is very timely, following passage of the new Paris Climate Change Agreement, the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)”, asserted Kishan Khoday, Team Leader at UNDP’s Regional Hub for Arab States. “AFEX 2016 findings signify an impressive shift towards a low-carbon, sustainable energy future. A huge opportunity now exists to scale this up even further, as countries move to implement their NDC national climate plans under the Paris Climate Agreement. Sustainable energy is now a key element of resilience based approaches to development, and an important foundation for countries as they recover from crisis.”

Key Findings - AFEX 2016 Renewable Energy Report

* Morocco, Jordan, Egypt, UAE and the Occupied Palestinian Territories constitute the top five performers in the 2016 AFEX rankings

* In 2016 the region surpassed 3000 MW of renewable energy (non-hydro) capacity for the first time

* The region is beginning to see flagship global projects, such as the Nour CSP project in Morocco which once fully operational will be the world’s largest single-site CSP facility

* Many countries have the skills, human resource capacities and industrial base that can be adapted to serve growth of the renewable sector locally and regionally. For example, gradually progressing local content ratios has been achieved in solar and wind projects in Egypt, Jordan and Morocco.

* Distributed generation is gaining momentum in the region, including in least developed countries seeking to expand energy access for the poor such as Djibouti, Mauritania, Sudan and Yemen, but also in middle income countries typically focused on utility scale projects.

* In Algeria and Egypt several small and medium sized PV plants came on line in 2015 under the feed-in tariff schemes adopted in the two countries.

* Bahrain, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and UAE have registered more favorable conditions for private investments in renewable energy.

* A dozen countries, including most of the oil-rich Gulf, have enacted energy subsidy reforms.

* Almost all Arab countries are currently supporting some form of private participation in power generation, and have adopted legislation authorizing IPPs.

* Uncertainties about grid infrastructure readiness to absorb renewable energy and grid access conditions remain critical challenges for further expansion of renewable energy in the region, with seven countries now working on developing grid codes for renewable energy projects.

* Renewable energy targets with detailed action plans and supporting policies such as feed-in-tariffs, net-metering, and competitive bidding, are being adopted by many countries.

The full report is available for download at

Contact information

Andrea Cabanero, Outreach and Communications Specialist, RCREEE,
Tel: +20 2 2415 47 (Ext: 129)

Noeman Al Sayyad, Regional Advisor, Communication and Media, UNDP Regional Hub for Arab States.

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