As we progress towards 100% renewable energy in all end uses, it is essential that we focus on collective efforts and coordination with all stakeholders. In this spirit, the “Pan-Arab Strategy for the Development of Renewable Energy Applications: 2010-2030” was formulated in January 2013 during the 3rd Arab Economic and Social Development Summit. This strategy declares a goal of 75GW of renewable energy installed power capacity by 2030.

Having an ambitious goal like 75GW, for a region that relies extensively on fossil fuels and heavily subsidies energy, requires a detailed roadmap of action. It also requires that we fully comprehend the current energy ecosystem in this region, the gaps and challenges (institutional and legal, technical, human-related, and economic and financial), and then develop a “doable” action plan. Offcourse, we must alwasy be keeping track of our progress.

The Pan-Arab Renewable Energy Strategy 2030 recommends two phases of implementation: 2010-2020 and 2020-2030. Three scenarios are forecasted (for renewable energy contribution in electricity generation in 2030), namely: a low scenario (2.3%), a medium scenario (4.7%), a high scenario (9.4%).

This Strategy declares five main goals:

  1. Utilise the immense renewable energy resources
  2. Improve future energy security
  3. Contribute to regional and national development
  4. Extend the lifetime of existing fossil fuel reserves
  5. Reduce the impacts of climate change

The Strategy outlines a systematic implementation mechanism that starts with a Renewable Energy Framework that is used to define an action plan (at a country level), and finally a reporting process to track progress. The following figure, from the 2014 report by the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) and the Regional Center for Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency (RCREEE) on the Pan-Arab Renewable Energy Strategy 2030, summaries this hierarchy.  

Hierarchy for developing renewable energy in the Arab World. Image source: IRENA, RCREEE (2014). Pan-Arab Renewable Energy Strategy 2030 Roadmaps of Actions for Implementation.

The IRENA and RCREEE report suggests eight steps that member countries need to complete to develop a national renewable energy action plan. These steps can be viewed as the the to-do list for developing renewable energy in any developing country.

  1. Renewable energy resources assessment (to evaluate technical potential)
  2. Develop national capacity in: institutions, human capital, and financial capacity
  3. Develop a local renewable energy strategy based on achievable goals and specific targets for energy end uses
  4. Implement medium to large scale projects to develop local technical capacity
  5. Strengthen economic competitivness of renewable energy and encourage private investments through financial and fisical incentives
  6. Improve market access through regulations
  7. Develop standards and codes for renewabe energy technologies and all stakeholders in the value chain
  8. Improve grid infrasture for transmission and distribution of variable renewable energy

Make sure to have a look at the report here.

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Mohamed Alhaj

Dr. Mohamed Alhaj is a Sudanese renewable energy engineer and researcher with a strong interest in the role of clean energy in Africa's sustainable development.

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