Investment in Clean Energy as a Driver for Climate Action in Eastern Mediterranean Region
IPEMED and EDAMA COP22 side event summary
The Mediterranean region is recognised as one of the world’s most sensitive environmental, political, social, economic and cultural hotspots. In particular, the Eastern Mediterranean Countries face regional challenges that can trigger action in their transition to a ’Green Economy’. IPEMED and EDAMA organized a side-event during COP22 to highlight the importance of renewable energy investments in the regional and emerging national climate change and sustainable development efforts. The event discussed ways to encourage local sustainable development models including the need to build linkages across the border and to create regional success stories. Discussions encouraged the adaptation of better practices in Green Financing and ways to increase the effective use of available financing for clean technologies. The role of business associations (such as EDAMA) in supporting policy reform and implementation in partnership with the public sector. Participants highlighted Jordan’s progress in Clean Energy as an inspiration for the whole MENA region. Recommendations revolved around more connections between Clean Energy investment and environmental and social impacts. Renewable Energy has a huge role in enabling other sectors to combat climate change especially within water, agriculture, transport and waste sectors.
The event took place on the 11th of November and gathered 30 participants as well as 6 keynote-speakers from all across the Mediterranean region:
- Ruba Al-Zu'bi, EDAMA CEO – session moderator;
- Jorge Borrego, Deputy Secretary General – Energy & Climate Action, Union for the Mediterranean;
- Laurent Dittrick, Renewable energy expert, Energy 2050;
- Basim Saleh, Renewable energy expert & Member of EDAMA;
- Remon Zakaria, Principal, Product and Business Development, Energy Efficiency and Climate Change, EBRD.
Renewable Energy as a Key Trigger for Climate Action in the Eastern Mediterranean Region
Jorge Borrego, as a representative of the Union for the Mediterranean (UfM), calls for a better and more comprehensive understanding of the environmental, economic, and social challenges faced by the Mediterranean region. He advocates for collective action on behalf of civil society and decision-makers, for the transition to low-carbon economies. He further stresses on the necessity to better structure regional cooperation and the benefits of the three platforms supported by the UfM* concerning gas (i), electricity (ii) and energy efficiency and renewable energy (iii). The keynote speaker emphasizes the huge potential available among youth, women and other groups within the region to create the shift to green growth and localized sustainable solutions.
As highlighted by Ruba Al-Zu'bi, Jordan’s direct proposals scheme and other regulatory instruments are expediting the renewable energy investment process. Globally, it is essential to double the share of renewable energy by 2030 to deliver around half of the required emissions reductions and, coupled with energy efficiency, keep the average rise in global temperatures below 2 °C to prevent catastrophic climate change.
Effective action against climate change calls for the scaling up of investments in renewable energy. Despite scarce natural resources (energy, water, etc.), Jordan and Morocco have made the most regional progress in renewable energy. As energy is the backbone for all economic development sectors, integrating clean energy solutions across sectors shall boost climate action and assist in facing environmental, economic and social challenges.
Jordan: A Successful Model in the Mediterranean Region
Thanks to the intervention of Basim Saleh and the official video from Jordan Ministry of Environment, delivered during COP22 and available below, this side-event allowed to feature the following key aspects introduced and enabled through Jordan’s “Vision 2025”, the 10-year blueprint for economic and social development, Energy Strategy, Climate Change Policy and INDCs:
- The Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency Law of 2012 helped to create new and promising partnerships between the public and private sectors. Over $1.6 billion were invested in renewable energy projects since the law was passed.
- According to its INDC, Jordan has to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions by 14% before 2030. To achieve this ambitious goal, clean energy (specifically wind and solar) will need to form 10% of Jordan’s energy mix by year 2020.
- About 1335 MW of wind and solar PV projects are currently under development, 400 MW currently operational.
- Jordan is among first countries in the region to prepare multi-sectoral climate change policy in 2013 followed by a green growth strategy to be launched soon targeting six sectors: water, energy, waste, transport, agriculture, and tourism.
Such strategic direction receives the support of international partners and financing institutions including the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) and the Union for the Mediterranean (UfM). Remon Zakaria, Principal Business Development Manager, Energy Efficiency and Climate Change at EBRD, explained the role of Banks after the Arab Spring. He highlighted that the EBRD has recently launched a USD 250M financing programme supporting private sector renewable energy projects (SPREF)** in the Arab countries with contributions from the Global Environmental Facility and the Clean Technology Fund. So fat the EBRD has invested EUR556M in Jordan, of which EUR231M in green projects (42% of EBRD’s total investment).
The ERBD Green Economy Transition initiative promotes an integrated approach of “sustainable development” and further highlights the linkages between RE with other key sectors like transportation, agriculture and water. This observation was discussed in detail with the audience.
Indeed, the Secretary General of the Ministry of Environment, Eng. Ahmad Qatarneh, responded to a question by the audience stating that Jordan is committed to working with the private sector and various stakeholders to implement its green economy goals.
Furthermore, Emad Adly from the Arab Network for Environment and Development (RAED) mentioned that the co-benefits of mitigation and adaptation have the potential to positively influence other economic and social aspects such as job creation, health, etc. Rasmi Hamzeh, the Director of Jordan Renewable Energy & Energy Efficiency Fund (JREEEF), intervened to explain the role of JREEEF in boosting the clean energy financing mechanisms especially for SMEs and households.
The “Hidden Face” of Energy Transition
Similarly, Laurent Dittrick, Renewable Energy expert from Energy 2050, highlighted the challenges in financing and implementing energy efficiency policies. He attributes many of these challenges to a lack of “visibility” and the multiplication of small projects. Energy management is a key-component for energy transition. Successful management has both economic and social impacts, while also equips consumers and decision-makers with more accurate sectorial information.
All of these interventions led to recommendations regarding the following concepts: Innovation, Adaptation, Formation, PPPs, Nexus-Approach, etc. The recommendations call for stronger cooperation in the Mediterranean Region at every level (regional, national, local and between all the stakeholders). In this regard, EDAMA as a business association seems to be an effective and suitable platform to improve dialogue between the public and private, and act as an inspiring model for all MENA countries.
** The SEMED Private Renewable Energy Framework (SPREF), a USD 250 million financing framework, was presented during the EU Energy Day at the COP22 international climate conference in Marrakesh.