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Masdar identifies investment opportunity in MENA region

Masdar chief executive officer, Dr Ahmad Belhoul, told Gulf News in an interview that these three countries have been forecasted to see an increase in energy demand over the next few years.

Masdar seeks potential

“Egypt, Jordan and Morocco are the three key markets in the Mena [Middle East and North Africa] region that Masdar is looking into very carefully for investment. There is plenty of potential in these countries for both solar and wind,” Belhoul said.

He added: “Demand for energy is expected to double in the region by 2030. The majority will come from renewable energy. It makes sense for us to double our portfolio in the next ten years. We will be a big player in the market.

“The Middle East is blessed with [a] lot of sunshine and there has been [a] lot of focus on solar power. However, there are also countries that have considerable wind power resources.

“The price of wind technology has gone down by 30% in the last five years and the governments are becoming more serious about wind energy.”

Wind energy

In December, the renewable energy firm launched the 117MW Tafila wind power project in Jordan, a joint venture between Inframed, EPGE and Masdar, which will account for around 6.5% of the Middle Eastern country’s 1,800MW renewable energy target for 2020, Gulf News reported.

According to the media, the wind farm will generate enough power to electrify 83,000 households, while reducing the country’s carbon emissions by 235,000 tonnes annually.

Belhoul concluded: “In Jordan, we made one investment and we want to reinvest because in Jordan the cost of energy is very high and whatever the projects you bring in solar or wind you are making savings to the government. There is a strong business case in Jordan.

“It is one of the mature markets in the region. They believe in renewables and the regulation is very strong. Today we are delivering a project to provide 17,700 homes with solar power in Morocco.”

Ashley Theron
Ashley Theron-Ord is based in Cape Town, South Africa at Clarion Events-Africa. She is the Senior Content Producer across media brands including ESI Africa, Smart Energy International, Power Engineering International and Mining Review Africa.