MENA Set for Solar Boom

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"An estimated 80,000 jobs could be created in the MENA region by 2025."

Renewable Energy World

The Middle East and North Africa region (MENA) could be ripe for developing its massive potential in concentrating solar power (CSP), finds a recent study for the World Bank by the Fraunhofer Institute for Systems and Innovation Research (ISI).

Solar thermal electricity generation is on a clearly positive trend, with new CSP installations having doubled since 2007, according to the study, MENA Assessment of Local Manufacturing Potential for Concentrated Solar Power (CSP) Projects.

By mid-2010, over 800 MW of CSP plants were in operation. Although the market is dominated by the US and Spain, a boom fuelled by national incentives is resulting in new projects in Australia, Asia and MENA.

MENA offers the greatest global application potential, the study found. In addition, European plant manufacturers and technology providers are ready to get involved in the region. But the report found that success and acceptance of solar power plant construction in the five countries it examined—Egypt, Algeria, Jordan, Morocco and Tunisia—depend heavily on the integration and participation of local industry.

The World Bank's Clean Technology Fund (CTF) is supporting the development of solar thermal power plants in MENA countries with an investment program that aims to help finance new power plants in the region and develop a local CSP industry.

The study results indicate that the local value added for CSP plants in the MENA region could average 60%. Christoph Kost, head of the study at Fraunhofer ISE, estimates that the effect from local value added in the region could total US$14.3 billion if sustainable, long-term demand is created, and that 60,000 to 80,000 jobs could be created in the MENA region by 2025.

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