Brussels seminar highlights importance of EU-GGC cooperation in clean energy

European Union (EU) and Gulf energy experts, stakeholders and policy makers have called for strengthening cooperation in the renewable energy sector between the EU and the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC), highlighting opportunities for the energy industry in both regions.

This was expressed at a seminar on “The energy transition in the Gulf region: Developments and prospects for EU-GCC cooperation” organised by the EU-GCC Clean Energy Technology Network in Brussels late Thursday.

The event aim to raise awareness among EU clean energy stakeholders regarding the status and prospects of clean energy market in the GCC region, Frank Wouters, Director of the Network, told KUNA.

He said cooperation between the two sides is crucial because of the growing importance of renewable energy in both regions, noting that it is a growing part of their energy mix.

He noted that the Network held a workshop on energy efficiency in Kuwait last October.

Wouters noted that Kuwait has “some very ambitious initiatives, in particular in solar energy,” referring to the Al-Shagaya renewable projects.

“Those are very, very big projects that certainly put their mark on the energy system and provide a local solution. We are seeing the growing competitiveness of solar as a real alternative in the electricity sector,” said Wouters.

He said the aim of the seminar is to create awareness in the stakeholders in Brussels, where (you) have all the industry associations from Europe and that they know what is going on in the Gulf.

On his part, Dr. Hilal Al-Mukhaini, GCC’s Director of Energy Department, Economic Affairs, told KUNA that the energy cooperation between the EU and the GCC is “very important.” The GGC side is keen to learn from the EU experience, get the technology, attract the industry and boost cooperation between the private sectors.

In the solar energy sector, he said cooperation and coordination will benefit the GCC more in terms of transferring the technology from the EU.

He noted that each of the six GCC members have started their own local solar energy projects, which will create more jobs and reduce independence on oil and gas.

Dr. Mustapha Taoumi, clean energy technology expert, told KUNA that the EU-GCC cooperation is key, in particular in renewable energy because the GCC is now embarking on a very ambitious pathway engaging the private sector and local actors.

Regarding the regulatory framework for clean energy technology in the GCC, Taoumi said it is “changing” and stressed the importance to combine policy, targets and regulations. He noted that the UAE and Saudi Arabia are leading in the renewable energy sector in the Gulf.

Meanwhile, in her speech at the seminar, Anne-Charlotte Bournoville, Head of International Relations and Enlargement Unit, Directorate General Energy, European Commission, said the cooperation has developed considerably over the time in the energy landscape.

She highlighted the importance of EU-GCC energy cooperation, and the EU-GCC Clean Energy Network as a valuable mechanism to facilitate the dialogue.

Markus Lattner, Director of Eurovent Middle East; a leading European manufacturer in the energy sector, told the seminar that there is a need for big investments from the EU industry in the GCC region.

A large number of energy experts, industry representatives and stakeholders from the EU and GCC attended the one-day event held at the office of the think-tank, European Centre for Political Studies.

The EU-GCC Clean Energy Technology Network, based in Masdar city, Abu Dhabi, aims to catalyze partnerships between clean energy stakeholders, both in the GCC and the EU. It is supported by the European Commission and the Secretariat General of the GCC.

Source: Kuwait News Agency