Big Solar and Big Wind to Meet in Abu Dhabi for World Future Energy Summit

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From the 16th to the 19th of January, twenty renewable energy and cleantech developers from across Egypt, Ghana, India, Jordan, Morocco, Saudi Arabia, Sudan, UAE and USA will showcase cutting-edge projects and conduct full business presentations at the Project Village at the World Future Energy Summit (WFES) 2012 in Abu Dhabi.

With 1 GW worth of of renewable projects being showased at the Project Village, the presentations represent a gigantic amount of local Middle Eastern and North African (MENA) region renewable energy.

Developing countries have overtaken developed ones in the growth of renewable projects, and the MENA region is key for the development of renewables.

Not only is the long time visionary Desertec Industrial Initiative (DII) about to break ground on its first project in 2012 in Morocco in the ambitious plan to power 15% of the EU from the deserts of the MENA region, but Morocco plans to supply 42% of its own domestic energy from solar by 2020 and Egypt is now among global leaders in renewable energy investment opportunities (pictured: Kuramayat solar hybrid project in Egypt).

Desertec’s physicist founder Gerhard Knies calculated, “Within 6 hours deserts receive more energy from the sun than humankind consumes within a year” and the EU now plans to get 15% of its electricity from MENA region deserts in a gigantic project that will take the next 40 years to complete. Imagine if the US could plan forty years ahead. We can barely vote to keep the lights on in congress for longer than two weeks at a time.

Two wind projects in Egypt totaling 420 MW will be showcased (as the start of a 3 GW wind project) and a solar project with the capacity of 100 MW from Kawar Energy from newcomer Jordan.

Abu Dhabi has taken stakes in many wind and solar power energy projects, started its own solar panel manufacturing business and put money into other solar panel manufacturers in Europe, United States and Asia. It also has formed partnerships with multinational renewable energy giants and begun building a city (Masdar) from scratch that showcases many low-carbon technologies.

Masdar for example, partnered in financing Gemasolar the $1.4 billion “day and night solar” project in Spain that is first of its kind technology at commercial scale, the first in the world to use molten salt both as the transfer fluid and the thermal storage in a central tower configuration so it can supply energy for at least fifteen hours a day (molten salt can retain 99% of the heat stored in it for up to 24 hours).

As an indication of how important to global renewable development the MENA region is, Ernst & Young and Bloomberg New Energy Finance are the sponsors of the renewable Project Village.

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