Abu Dhabi, 28 February, 2018: First Abu Dhabi Bank (FAB), the UAE’s largest bank and one of the world’s largest and safest financial institutions, hosted five alternative energy leaders for a panel discussion at the ninth Global Financial Markets Forum (GFMF), which concludes today.
The Global Financial Markets Forum (GFMF), the region’s premier financial markets conference, is being held under the patronage of His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces, at Emirates Palace in Abu Dhabi. Bringing together economic experts and decision-makers from the UAE and the world, GFMF has attracted over 1,600 delegates to network, exchange ideas and shape the global financial agenda.
Mr. Mohamed Al Ramahi, CEO of Masdar, Mr. Mohamed Al Hammadi, CEO of the Emirates Nuclear Energy Corporation (ENEC), Mr. Dietmar Siersdorfer, CEO of Siemens Middle East and UAE, Dr. Manar Al Moneef, President and CEO for GE Renewable Energy in the Middle East, North Africa, and Turkey, and Mr. Paddy Padmanathan, President and CEO of ACWA Power, participated in the panel discussion. The session looked at the practicalities and realties of scaling the alternative and renewables sectors.
Participants noted how the discussion has rapidly moved from the necessity of renewable energy sources to the reality that they are now often the most cost effective solution. Meanwhile, hybrid sources and storage capacity have replaced the debate between solar and wind as industry hot topics.
The swift reduction in the cost of renewable energy over the last five years was attributed to a confluence of factors including government policy, early adopters, ingenious technology and the lower cost of finance.
Mr. Mohamed Al Ramahi said that from day one, “our country realised that diversification of the economy is a must. Our country also highlighted the importance of diversifying the energy sector.”
He added: “The renewable energy targets are here, and they are here to stay. Renewable energy today is a mainstream technology because of policy and regulations, and the efficiency of these technologies is much better.”
Looking ahead, it was noted that the speed of electronification, particularly in the developing world, will necessitate a broad energy mix.
Mr. Mohamed Al Ramahi highlighted that 1.2 billion people around the world have either an inadequate supply of energy or none at all, stating that “the growth of energy demand across the globe will continue and renewables will play a very important role. So when we talk about energy, we don’t talk about the sustainability of energy, we talk about the sustainability of everything.”
Mr. Mohamed Al Hammadi explained that the UAE conducted a very detailed analysis of its energy mix, saying that “we looked at the future, and we had to come up with innovative solutions”. He added that “nuclear generates a lot of energy, in a clean, safe and reliable manner.”
Panelists also discussed the challenge of energy storage and ensuring that electricity reaches people when and where it is needed, with Mr. Mohamed Al Hammadi highlighting that the transportability of energy is “a key gamechanger.”
With the business case for renewables never better, the importance of enabling regulations, access to finance and breakthrough technologies were all highlighted as key factors for the future success of the sector.
The session was moderated by Axel Threlfall, Editor at Large of Reuters.