The combination of energy efficiency and renewable energy is the key to the future in all sectors. This is the main message came to light during the international capitalization event of the MED-DESIRE project, held in Cairo on October 11.
The initiative, organized by the New and Renewable Energy Authority (NREA, Egypt), is part of the capitalization activities of the MED-DESIRE project (MEDiterranean Development of Support schemes for solar Initiatives and Renewable Energies), aiming at spreading energy efficiency across the Mediterranean area through the definition of innovative financial schemes and market stimulation tools and implemented under the ENPI CBC Mediterranean Sea Basin Programme.
The conference involved institutional representatives (Mohammed El Sobki from NREA, Giuseppe Creanza from Puglia Region/ARTI (Italy), Joaquin Villar, from the Andalusian Energy Agency (Spain), Abdelkader Baccouche from the National Agency for Energy Conservation (Tunisia), Rani Al Achkar from the Lebanese Center for Energy Conservation (Lebanon); international actors (Mohamed Bayoumi from UNDP Country Office in Cairo and Khalid Hosney from League of the Arabe States); stakeholders (Maghed K. Mahmoud from RCREEE, the Regional Center for Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency); and the business sector, with over 30 companies representatives from Egypt, Spain, Tunisia, Lebanon and Italy.
Those international experts discussed about Mediterranean energy cooperation policies and experiences, as well as the latest legislative developments and innovative facilities regarding energy sustainability.
It is estimated that by year 2022 energy demand will double in the South and East Mediterranean area, because of demographic and GDP growth. Oil can’t be the only answer to this increased demand; each country has to find its own way, hopefully through RES. As a matter of fact, the Arab Countries are moving toward renewables and energy efficiency, using the widely available natural resources, like wind and sun, and trying to use the best technologies to produce more with less energy.
This is a very challenging objective, but Egypt, Tunisia and Lebanon have a dynamic energy sector and they are planning considerable investments in the coming years. As confirmed by the RCREEE representative, the Arab Countries have made commitments to increase the use of energy from renewable sources by 2020.
MED-DESIRE project is working within this changing environment. Thanks to a strong partnership and the involvement of the relevant national stakeholders, MED-DESIRE is helping Egypt, Tunisia and Lebanon to remove the barriers to the take up of distributed solar technologies.
To this purpose, MED-DESIRE is developing innovative financial instruments for facilitating the diffusion of distributed solutions for energy production and energy efficiency, according to the specific needs and priorities in each MPC country: a dedicated instrument for medium-size photovoltaic installations in Tunisia; a technology-neutral financial instrument dedicated to Municipalities and Union of Municipalities in Lebanon; an incentive scheme for Solar Water Heaters in the domestic sector in Egypt.
Moreover, MED-DESIRE is supporting the adoption of new technical standards and the empowerment of local certification systems and testing laboratories, through “capacity building” initiatives and feasibility studies. The project is also promoting the quality of solar installations, training professionals and installers and the qualification of technical trainers in vocational schools.
Finally, the project is developing ordinances that will make mandatory the introduction of solar systems in buildings for some pilot municipalities in Egypt, Lebanon and Tunisia, in accordance with the local legislations.
During the conference, the project partners representatives discussed the impact of the MED-DESIRE project in their countries, in particular in Egypt, Tunisia and Lebanon. They all agreed that the project is contributing to higher and more diffused competences of local technicians and professionals and is strengthening the capacities of public administrations and regional institutions.
Thanks to MED-DESIRE, a wide consensus of key stakeholders is being achieved and awareness raising of the end users is growing. Moreover, through several B2B meetings with companies from Spain, Italy, Tunisia, Egypt and Lebanon, the project is facilitating business opportunities and enhancing the north/south and south/south cooperation, transferring good practices in the energy efficiency sector and exchanging know how.
These last months of work are the final rush of MED-DESIRE project: the remaining activities will foster the project impact on the participating countries.