MEA Energy Week Day 1 Summary
The focus on tackling the challenges and building momentum for the energy transition
Monday, 27 June, 2022
Day 1 of MEA Energy Week 2022 focused on the key issues facing the global clean energy transition and how shifting geopolitics are realigning energy relationships, solutions, and economic opportunities for Europe, the Middle East, and Africa. As the MEA region emerges as a vital hub for renewable energy generation and offtake, one of the key obstacles to overcome is equitable climate finance. “We need to transfer funds to the poorer areas of the world for the energy transition. We have to resolve the commitment of the different parts of the world in terms of what they have promised before - and then implement,” said Christian Bruch, President and CEO of Siemens Energy. Bruch’s key message for the day was that public-private collaboration was essential to achieving a real, long-term energy transition that would address the energy trilemma of security, sustainability, and affordability.
In his keynote address, the UAE Minister of Energy and Infrastructure, H.E. Suhail Al Mazrouei, also highlighted the importance of increasing collaborations between the public and private sectors to drive climate technology and innovation, especially in terms of hydrogen. It is essential for the world to prioritize reducing energy consumption and diversifying the energy mix, he said.
Dietmar Siersdorfer, Managing Director of Siemens Energy Middle East, said hydrogen is rapidly picking up momentum as a decarbonization pathway, with 220 large-scale hydrogen projects already in development around the world. One country that is set to become a major hydrogen player is this year’s COP27 host, Egypt. “The most compelling element to talk about is how to create opportunity. What is the abundance we have and how do we finance this? We need green energy commodity prices. We need bankability. We need to finance long-term projects. We need scalable offerings. We need big projects by private developers,” says Ayman Soliman, Chief Executive Officer of the Sovereign Fund of Egypt.
Deep diving into the topic of hydrogen, Alicia Eastman, co-founder and Managing Director of InterContinental Energy, said getting more large hydrogen projects off the ground was vital for the growth of the industry. “The larger the project, the more ways to optimize it and lower costs. With renewables-based products, we can predict what the cost will be over the next 25 years. The first phase has the highest fixed costs, then each subsequent phase is cheaper.”
“We think (hydrogen) pilot projects are super important. They unlock commercial applications down the line,” says James Mnyupe, the Namibian Green Hydrogen Commissioner and Presidential Economic Advisor.
Smart interconnected grids are the real enabler for the integration of renewables, but this requires international cooperation, says Ahmed Ali Al-Ebrahim, CEO of the Gulf Cooperation Council Interconnection Authority (GCCIA). It is estimated that the Gulf states can save up to $1 billion in operating and fuel costs if the grid is used for optimal dispatch between the six member states. For more countries to do the same, many will need to upgrade and modernize their existing grid infrastructure. “We have to realize that if we want energy transition and we want to build out renewables, it doesn't come for free. We need to invest in and build out transmission grids. If we want a net zero future, it will cost us, but it is an investment in the future for the planet and future generations,” says Tim Holt, Executive Board Member of Siemens Energy. In addition to overcoming grid issues, storage is the biggest bottleneck to having a complementary renewable energy system, says Pierre Samaties, partner at Roland Berger.
Middle East & Africa Energy Week 2022
Connect with 40+ senior leaders from the energy industry to discuss topics around energy transition and decarbonization.