IEA-organised workshop explores speeding renewables deployment in Mediterranean

5 October 2012

© OECD/IEA, 2012. About 100 people attended the IEA-organised “From Mediterranean Plans to Renewable Energy Power Plants” workshop in Rome.

The International Energy Agency organised a workshop on 3 October in Rome that explored the vast potential for renewable energy in the Mediterranean region, in particular solar and wind technologies, and how countries can harness it.

About 100 people attended “From Mediterranean Plans to Renewable Energy Power Plants”. The workshop was hosted by Gestore Servizi Energetici (GSE), under the auspices of the Italian Ministries of Foreign Affairs and Environment, Land and Sea. Held in collaboration with the Observatoire Méditerranéen de l’Energie (OME) and Renewable Energy Solutions for the Mediterranean (RES4Med), the event focused on discussing ways to foster existing regional and national initiatives to deploy renewable energy technologies from the planning stage to actual operation of renewable energy power plants.

Renewables make possible growth in energy trade

In his opening remarks at the workshop, Ambassador Richard H. Jones, Deputy Executive Director of the IEA, said, “Realising the opportunities for trade in power could have major economic benefits on both sides of the Mediterranean, with improved energy supplies and employment opportunities.  My view is that the Mediterranean region should be at the forefront of the green-growth efforts: this can be supported by more interconnected and mutually supportive Governments and industries.”

Congratulating the participants on their accomplishments, he said at the conclusion that the next steps would be to accelerate the development of policy frameworks capable of attracting increased private investment into renewables and energy efficiency projects; expand regional multilateral deployment approaches; and develop projects that share the benefits, including technology transfer and job creation, among all parties.

Workshop aims to vitalise progress

Mediterranean countries have very ambitious short- to medium-term plans and targets for deploying renewable energy technologies, however progress on the ground has been slower than many had hoped. North Africa in particular has the potential to rapidly deploy renewable energy as a response to the countries’ growing energy demand and in the medium term become a major exporter of renewable energy to Europe, which could help the continent meet its ambitious energy security and climate goals. The workshop reviewed Mediterranean initiatives to support North African deployment programmes, especially in the context of global economic crisis and regional instability due to political turmoil, and how to attract the investment necessary to achieve the plans.

Ambassador Jones noted that meeting those goals requires an increase in private-sector investment and the development of national power grids and markets, among other challenges.

Attendees included government and industry representatives from countries to the north and south of the Mediterranean plus Turkey, including Egypt, France, Italy, Libya, Morocco, Spain and Tunisia,  as well as regional organisations such as Union for the Mediterranean, Medreg and Desertec Industrial Initiative.