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Transforming the Middle East's future of energy

Udi Adiri, Director GeneralMinistry of Energy, Israel
Udi Adiri, Director GeneralMinistry of Energy, Israel

Published: Thu 28 Jan 2021, 3:26 PM

The historic peace agreement with the UAE, which led to a chain reaction of similar agreements with neighboring countries, is a unique opportunity on a global scale, for the development of the energy economies of both countries and the entire region. It is not only that the historic peace agreement is great, but also creating collaborations in such area can nourish and strengthen peace agreements.

The peace agreements come in one of the most exciting periods known to the Israeli energy sector and the energy economies worldwide. In recent years, energy economies have undergone an unprecedented transformation against a background of global trends dealing with climate crisis, technological advances, digitalisation, and the decentralisation of traditional energy economies. These trends require a change in the global energy economy alongside with the constant need to maintain a reliable energy supply with balanced economic development.

Those trends are evident in the Israeli energy economy and that of the UAE as well. Such shared objectives for economic development, reducing greenhouse gas emissions and assimilating new technologies in the economies are a unique opportunity for cooperation, along with the creation of regional collaboration that will generate tremendous economic opportunities and energy security for our region. The dramatic change in the Israeli energy market follows an historic decision conducted by the minister of energy, Dr Yuval Steinitz, which states the cessation of coal use by 2025, as well as raising the targets for renewable energy.

During my visit in the UAE, I have witnessed the similarity regards to the challenges and opportunities both countries share. I believe there are significant possibilities for regional collaboration between both countries, which include infrastructure projects in the sectors of natural gas, electricity and oil products as well as R&D, joint funds and cyber cooperation.

International electricity infrastructure projects can serve as a catalyst for renewable energies by creating connectivity between countries. Examples as such we can see in the connecting grid at the European Union countries, which allows them to trade with their electricity overloads.

The Israeli Ministry of Energy is promoting international infrastructure projects, which will allow the connection to Europe>s and maybe in the future also to Gulf countries infrastructure. Those electric and natural gas grids, would improve the regional connectivity and the possibility for trade.

There are, however, other immediate opportunities for collaboration. First, one of the future technological developments in the energy production is the hydrogen, which for a profitable production requires a high scale of renewables. The potential that lies within it in the deserts of the Middle East and it's transferring through an upgraded natural gas pipeline to Europe through Israel Can be a breakthrough for the energetic ecosystem as well as an environmental profit.

Second, cybersecurity of critical energy infrastructure is an important strategic target. Similar to other countries in the world, Israel is dealing with the dangers inherent in cyber threats, especially in the field of energy infrastructure. The Ministry of Energy in Israel is establishing a unique national laboratory for research and innovation in this field, which focuses on industrial control systems. Collaboration in this field could create new opportunities and advantages in the public and the private sectors.

Third, it seems that in the field of R&D

this is the right period to invest in new fission technologies. In recent years, there has been a vibrant R&D atmosphere in the Israeli energy sector that includes many start-ups companies. We are confident that the cooperation between Israeli companies and UAE companies, as well as the UAE determination to lead and reach new frontiers in these fields will allow a good joint connection.

One of Israel government's main goals is to accelerate and promote the economic cooperation, among others, by encouraging trade relations between the UAE and Israeli energy companies; promote investment opportunities; attracting investors; including tenders for distribution of oil and gas exploration licenses; purchasing power plants; establishing solar and other energy production complexes. These collaborations and more, which will create normalisation and stability, will also allow new players to enter the arena.

Considering all of those opportunities and many others, I believe we are living in an exciting period with incredible opportunities ahead of us and it's our duty and obligation for our children and future generations to realise this vision as fast and as far as we can, for securing energetic, economic and strong mutual future cooperation of our region.

Ashalim Solar Thermal Power Station is the largest renewable energy project in Israel and one of the largest in the world


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