Abu Dhabi: Masdar will be looking to invest in new projects in Morocco, Egypt and Jordan in the coming years as the demand for clean energy goes up in the region, Chief Executive Officer Dr Ahmad Belhoul told Gulf News in an interview.
“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,” said Dr Belhoul.
“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 Abu Dhabi-based renewables company will be focusing on both solar and wind as part of its expansion plans.
“The Middle East is blessed with lot of sunshine and there has been 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 per cent in the last five years and the governments are becoming more serious about wind energy.”
The company launched a major wind project in Jordan last month. Inaugurated by King Abdullah II, Tafila wind farm, a joint venture between Inframed, EPGE and Masdar, will account for almost 6.5 per cent of Jordan’s 1,800 megawatt (MW) renewable energy target for 2020.
The 117MW installation will create enough electricity to power 83,000 homes while reducing the country’s carbon emissions by 235,000 tonnes annually.
“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. “
Morocco, he said, has increased renewable targets to reach by 52 per cent by 2030.
“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.”
The clean energy company, owned by Mubadala group, has committed more than $1.7 billion to renewable energy developments, with those investments helping to deliver nearly 1 gigawatt of clean power in the United Arab Emirates and many countries across the globe.
The company has projects in the UAE, Seychelles, Samoa, Spain, United Kingdom, Oman, Mauritania and other countries. It is currently working on Dudgeon Offshore Wind Farm Project in the United Kingdom in partnership with Statoil and Statkraft. When complete in 2017, it will generate electricity to power more than 410,000 homes and reduce carbon emissions equal to 893,000 tonnes annually.
Masdar is also interested in India and is in discussions with the Indian government for potential opportunities. “It’s a big market. The targets are big. UAE and India have a long-standing trading partnership and we are looking for opportunities.”
Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi visited Masdar City during his trip to the UAE in August and has shown a keen interest in the various projects launched by the low carbon city located on the outskirts of Abu Dhabi.