In the framework of MED-DESIRE technical workpackages, a series of meetings were organized in the South Mediterranean target Countries in June 2014. The aim of the technical meeting was, on one hand, to have an insight of the general boundary conditions of the energy context for each specific Country in terms of policy priorities based on stakeholder interviews (thus complementing the WP4 desk analysis) and, on the other hand, to consolidate a baseline for Country specific needs in terms of market stimulus for distributed solar energies and energy efficiency (WP5 and WP6).
During the three missions (Tunis 9-13, Beirut 20-22 and Cairo/Alexandria 22-26 of June) nearly 60 stakeholders were met, coming from central and local authorities, educational system, industrial and financial sector and NGOs.
From a general prospective the stakeholder consultation confirmed the basic assumptions that inspired the design of MED-DESIRE project: increasing energy demand and prices, lack of investments in new generation capacity (in particular for utility scale projects) and unsustainable energy subsidies to fossil fuels are all general features that characterize, with different degrees, project target countries. Distributed solar energies and energy efficiency are in general perceived as a viable positive contribution to the aforementioned issues by both policy makers and market actors.
Going to specific project activities, the consultation was very useful as an input for Country tailored actions. From the financial point of view, for example, some Country have already developed a well-functioning financial schemes but improvements are needed to enlarge support to different sectors, while other Countries have not yet introduced any national support scheme for solar energies and energy efficiency. Improvements in the training system for vocational schools is considered a common priority in order to improve the quality of installations and ensure customer satisfaction. Also the issue of certification and testing of solar technologies, in particular for PV components, is felt as an enabling issue for a sustainable market growth. Finally, the presence of Local Authorities and Municipalities in promoting distributed solar energies and energy efficiency is not well-developed yet, but the willingness to play a central role of some of them is very promising.
The technical missions were very useful not only to collect information and suggestions for each target country, but also to establish face to face relations with key stakeholders that will have to be involved in MED-DESIRE upcoming activities.