Cleantech investment to increase in next 5 years

DUBAI - A majority of executives, polled in Middle East and North Africa, believe that investment in cleantech is expected to increase in the next five years in the region, according to Ernst & Young (E&Y).

By Abdul Basit

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Published: Wed 22 Jun 2011, 11:09 PM

Last updated: Tue 7 Apr 2015, 4:51 AM

Cleantech encompasses a broad range of technologies that include alternative energy (solar, wind, biomass, geothermal, hydro, biofuels, biogas, waste to energy, tidal), energy storage, water technologies, recycling technologies, green chemistry (non-hazardous materials), white biotech (enzymes), green biotech (plant enhancements), nano materials (surfaces & catalysts) and membranes (filters).

The E&Y’s MENA survey on Cleantech titled ‘Cleantech matters: Seizing transformational opportunities (Middle East and North Africa outlook)’ revealed that 65 per cent of the region’s executives predict increase in cleantech investment for a couple of years.

“According to the respondents of the MENA survey, the region has been ranked as one of the most attractive regions for cleantech investment after China and Europe, and there is a high degree of optimism within the region about its growing role and investments into its cleantech industry,” Nimer AbuAli, MENA Head of Cleantech, Ernst & Young, said.

For example, almost 90 per cent of the respondents are backing the realisation of the mega-project to connect the MENA and EU regions via a vast energy grid where electricity will be generated mostly by renewables, AbuAli said.

Findings have also indicated that the key drivers of new cleantech investment are government policy (59 per cent), climate change response (29 per cent), water scarcity (25 per cent) and solar irradiation (23 per cent). Interestingly, population growth and business compulsions were seen as least likely to drive new cleantech investment.

The survey respondents felts that new money is expected to flow into solar thermal energy technologies (73 per cent) and photovoltaics (63 per cent) an obvious inference given the relatively sunnier climes of the region. Other sectors included water technologies (43 per cent), green building technologies (40 per cent), waste to energy and recycling technologies (39 per cent) and wind technologies (22 per cent).

Insufficient government support was listed as the single biggest barrier to renewable energy development by 39 per cent of the respondents, while price competitiveness compared to traditional energy sources and insufficient private financing followed at 31 per cent and 16 per cent respectively.

Nimer added: “Despite the relative lack of state support, 60 per cent firmly believe it to increase strongly over the next five years. This indicates a sense of cautious optimism and reiterates the potential that we’ll witness in cleantech.”

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