Wind-power tipped to triple in MENA over next ten years while solar reigns

30 March 2018

Renewable energy specialists MAKE Consulting has projected a tripling in annual wind-power capacity additions for the Middle East and Africa to 2027 in its latest ten-year forecast. The release of the report was followed by the announcement that SoftBank and the Saudi government would build a solar park capable of generating an unprecedented 200GW in the Kingdom by 2030.

MAKE Consulting, which in 2017 became part of the global energy and resources research and consultancy group Wood Mackenzie (itself under the banner of data analytics agency Verisk), has released its latest ten-year global forecast for the wind-power sector, predicting a 30 percent bump in annual global capacity additions to 2020, followed by a 30%-plus period of growth to 2027 driven by sustained momentum from emerging markets – averaging out at more than 65GW and a CAGR of 4%.

With a range of considerable wind projects being announced or underway in MENA, including Egypt’s plan to develop the region’s largest generation farm in the Suez Bay, as well as an ongoing push in Morocco and Oman’s recent resolution to join the mix, the combined Middle East and Africa are projected by MAKE to triple in capacity additions to 2027 – driven largely by the contributions of these and other emerging markets – with the consulting firm last year tipping 40GW to be added to the region over the ten-year forecast period at a CAGR of 22%.

While impressive, considering the region had only the 1GW less than a decade ago, the projected added capacity of the wind-power forecast is dwarfed by this week’s announced agreement between the Saudi government and SoftBank Vision Fund to build a $200 billion solar power development in the country – with an ultimate production capacity on completion by 2030 of up to 200GW alone. As a comparison, Saudi Arabia’s entire current installed capacity sits at around 60GW, while the world’s next largest solar project in the pipeline is proposed at 2GW.Wind-power capacity tipped to triple in MENA over next ten years while solar reignsThe ambitious development is in line with the Kingdom’s 2030 Vision, one of the numerous national transformation programmes sweeping the region in an effort to diversify local economies away from a reliance of hydrocarbons – recently prompting Big Four firm Deloitte to set up a Digital Delivery Centre in Riyadh with the support of the Saudi Ministry of Communications and Information Technology, and the strategy and management firm A.T. Kearney to establish a National Transformations Institute in Dubai.

Meanwhile, the $93 billion innovation and tech-focused SoftBank Vision Fund, streets ahead as the world’s largest ever corporate venture capital fund, has an equally bold and disruptive agenda, and counts among its backers the UAE’s state-owned investment body Mubadala along with the sovereign wealth Public Investment Fund (PIV) of Saudi Arabia – where Softbank has been said to be intending to invest as much $25 billion over the next few years, including $10 billion reportedly slated for a stake in Saudi Electricity co. to aid its diversification toward solar and renewable energies.

Yet, while the big money and glamour projects may be tilting toward solar, with large cost-efficiency gains projected in the sector, the Mediterranean East General Manager for the world’s biggest wind turbine manufacturer Vestas, Rainer Karan, said last year that there’s still great potential for the wind sector in the MENA region, noting that “wind and solar are complementary renewable technologies.”

This potential includes Saudi Arabia, with its Red Sea Coast featuring relatively high wind-speeds according to the Abu-Dhabi head-quartered International Renewable Energy Agency. "More than 56 percent of the GCC’s surface area has significant potential for wind deployment. Covering just 1 percent of this area could translate into an equivalent 60GW of capacity,” the intergovernmental agency said in a previous report.


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Bizness Analytics of Dubai launches tool for sustainability reporting

25 October 2018

Dubai-based digital consulting firm Bizness Analytics has launched a tool to aid corporate social responsibility and sustainability reporting.

Based at the Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC), with further offices in the US, India and Turkey, the 2006-founded Bizness Analytics offers diversified services in sustainable development, innovation and risk management, digital transformations, and big data research and analytics, with Nike and banking group Emirates NBD named among the firm’s international and local clients.

With a focus on environmental, social and governance (ESG) consulting, Bizness Analytics has launched a new internally-developed tool for ESG and sustainability reporting for companies across the region, named the ESG Robo Advisor and described by the firm as the region’s first environmental, social, governance / sustainability-related reporting toolkit - designed to build industry-focused and investor-driven reporting.

“Our aim is to assist, guide and advice C-suites and senior management to take ESG mainstream, said Bizness Analytics CEO Sandeep Raghuwanshi, a former senior vice president for Lazard in the UAE. “ESG Robo Advisor, developed in our own design and innovation lab, allows an organization to create, measure and communicate their sustainability strategy to their stakeholder base and work together to make this world a better place.”Bizness Analytics of Dubai launches tool for sustainability reportingAs stated by the firm, ESG Robo Advisor is a set of precision tools and services which will allow companies to leverage big data and cloud technology in developing and managing their ESG and sustainability practices, with the consulting firm contending that the incorporation of sustainability factors is critical to business success – citing growing evidence that companies with a strong ESG profile perform better as to profitability and managing risks and opportunities.

“We have enlisted the help of global experts, investors, practitioners and participated in several boardroom conversations to design our tool, which offers education, best practices, data, and a template-driven process to the management and the reporting team,” Raghuwanshi said, with the firm saying plans were afoot to create industry-specific tools tailored for the healthcare, retail, travel, and tourism and hospitality sectors.

Speaking on the desirability for corporate social responsibility and sustainability, Raghuwanshi says; “A sound, a thoughtful sustainable strategy not only is profitable in a conventional sense of shareholder value but also is a key driver for long-term profitable returns by aligning company’s shareholder values with broader societal values… The purpose of sustainability reporting is to answer the following simple question: whether the company’s present business model builds more value than it consumes or destroys?”