Adoption of Renewable Electricity and Energy Storage in MENA

The proposal is to write a series of papers around the theme of how well-adapted MENA institutions and sector governance are to undertaking and facilitating an economically-optimal energy transition, in the face of increasingly disruptive technologies in the electricity sector (particularly solar, windpower, and energy storage).  By “disruptive” technologies it is meant those technologies whose costs have declined so much that a tipping point is being reached, after which that technology becomes near-ubiquitous and replaces other conventional technologies (initially replacing them as regards new investment in capacity, and eventually even replacing existing investment and stranding those assets). The papers will use examples from Jordan, Morocco, Palestine, Egypt, UAE, Tunisia, and Lebanon, and  other countries inside and outside MENA. Key research questions to be examined will include, inter alia:

  • What are the criteria through which we can predict future electricity generation mixes in MENA, focusing on the role of disruptive technologies?
  • How strategic and forward-looking is power system planning in MENA, and how does that affect the pace and direction of change?
  • What can the private sector contribute to the process?  What are the available models of private sector participation?
  • What is the role of single buyer models vs. liberalized markets in procuring the optimal technology combinations?
  • What is the role played by energy subsidies, and how important is their elimination?
  • How do vested interests around old technologies and conventional fuels affect decision-making about disruptive technologies?  How do these political economy issues look different between oil-producing and oil-importing countries in the region?

By: Jonathan Walters