Session gathered stakeholders to challenge outdated assumptions regarding sustainable energy production and consumption throughout the MENA region
Hamad Bin Khalifa University’s (HBKU) Qatar Environment and Energy Research Institute (QEERI) conducted a special workshop for partners and stakeholders on September 4, 2023, to highlight several factors necessary for sustainable energy transition.
The workshop gathered academics and industry figures in the sustainable energy field to discuss existing strategies and address outdated assumptions regarding energy production and consumption throughout the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region. Presentations were delivered by senior QEERI figures, including Dr. Veronica Bermudez, Senior Research Director of the Energy Center; Dr. Antonio Sanfilippo, Chief Scientist; Dr. Juan Lopez-Garcia, Principal Investigator and Research Program Director; Dr. Hicham Hamoudi, Senior Scientist; and Dr. Sarim Dastgir, Senior Scientist.
“As major hydrocarbon producers the Gulf states are particularly exposed to the global ongoing energy transition. The prospect of lower returns in fossil fuel investments is a particularly compelling energy transition driver. While the energy transition in the MENA region is a complex and integrated problem, it brings a lot of opportunities for economic diversification. This economic diversification holds the promise of reducing dependence on volatile oil prices, safeguarding against market fluctuations, and creating new avenues for sustainable growth. By cultivating a resilient and diverse economic landscape, the Middle East can position itself as a global hub for innovation and investment in the renewable energy sector.” Said Dr. Veronica Bermudez.
“While the MENA region’s energy needs have consistently risen in the last decade, international recommendations to adhere to sustainability commitments continue to increase. This workshop gave us an opportunity to disseminate important findings to colleagues working in this field, demonstrating our commitment to leverage common interests through collaborations with local and international partners to build expertise and research capacity in Qatar,” said Dr. Marc Vermeersch, Executive Director, QEERI.
The workshop also included technical discussions regarding novel applications of existing technologies, projects, and practices in the field of sustainable energy. QEERI staff discussed the role of both artificial intelligence and digitalization in energy transition, current and future trends in capital and operational expenditures in utility-scale solar PV power plants in desert environments, and recent developments in the research of disruptive technologies.
Participants also delved into the importance of the circular economy to the successful realization of energy transition, as well as strategies needed to maintain the MENA region’s role as a major energy producer on the international market.
HBKU’s QEERI is the leading national research, development and innovation institute in Qatar, having an overarching focus on water, energy and environment, with a mandate to anticipate and solve critical challenges facing the country and the world. The Institute connects academia with industry and market, providing them with the fundamental and applied research inputs that they need to find novel solutions for optimized utilization of strategic national resources.