In the latest edition of Ernst & Young’s quarterly Renewable Energy Country Attractiveness Index, Saudi Arabia, Egypt and Morocco are in prominent positions in terms of solar, wind and other renewable energy indexes, becoming a role model for other countries in the MENA region. The report focuses on 40 states and takes into account the technologies of each country, the renewable infrastructure, the indexes of solar and wind and other renewable energy.

 It also provides in-depth insight into the renewable energy market, the trends and the most recent developments, challenges and future prospects. In the solar index, Saudi Arabia jumped from the 14th to the 12th position after the municipality of Mecca announced, in the fourth quarter of 2012, its plans to build a solar plant. The company IDEA Polysilicon Company (IPC) also intends to obtain funding for its project, Yamboa at the end of 2013. This will cost 1,000 million dollars and its goal is to produce 10,000 metric tons of polysilicon and 800mW of production capacity of solar cells every year to make solar panels for the entire Middle East region. Egypt moved up one position in the onshore wind index thanks to the recent announcement of a plan to auction exploitation rights in the area of ​​the Gulf of Suez to build a 600MW wind farm.

Morocco has experienced an increase in all the levels of renewable energy through the implementation of a number of modern initiatives. Rabat announced its intention to create solar plants and wind farms with a total capacity of 4GW in 2020. In the last quarter of 2012, the Moroccan government approved funding for the first phase of the Ouarzazate solar complex (160MW) and aims to get the second phase started this year. There are plans to create another project in 2014. In addition, the National Office for Electricity and Drinking Water (ONEE) is planning a wind project that will consist of five independent wind farms. Namr Abu Ali, head of clean technologies in the MENA zone at Ernst & Young, says that the United Arab Emirates is very well positioned and its best performance was in the solar index (ranked 12) after the Development Fund of Abu Dhabi offered a soft loan of 250 million dollars to governments which support renewable energy projects in developing countries.

 Source: Al Hayat, 02/05/2013

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