MEE: a key trade event for the power industry

MEE: a key trade event for the power industry

Powering ahead

February 2018

Middle east electricity (MEE), the region’s leading annual international trade event for the power industry is all set to host more than 1,615 companies from 66 countries, in addition to 24 dedicated country pavilions, this year.

The 2018 edition of the show will feature a new dedicated Energy Storage & Management Solutions sector and will also debut the Global Smart Energy Summit (GSES) alongside the mega exhibition.

Organised by Informa Exhibitions, MEE 2018 runs at the Dubai World Trade Centre next month from March 6 to 8 and is held under the patronage of HH Sheikh Maktoum bin Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Dubai Deputy Ruler, and is hosted by the UAE Ministry of Energy.

Energy Storage and Management Solutions sector joins four other specialised sectors at the show inlcuding Transmission and Distribution, Power Generation, Lighting and Solar.

“We are experiencing strong demand for the show’s 2018 edition and this strong commitment appears to be a resounding vote of confidence in the sector and in the ongoing commitment of GCC governments to invest in this segment and seek alternative financing vehicles,” said Anita Mathews, group director – industrial portfolio at Informa Exhibitions.

A massive surge in investment has piqued interest in MEE 2018, she said. The value of power construction contracts awarded throughout the GCC in 2018 will reach $23.6 billion, according to a report for the event by Ventures Onsite. The report highlights that Saudi Arabia will lead the awards ranking, accounting for 59 per cent of contract value, followed by the UAE and Kuwait.

Mathews: strong demand for the 2018 edition

Mathews: strong demand for the 2018 edition

“This upsurge in the value of contracts reflects the vibrancy of the region’s power sector where governments are looking to meet spiraling demand – between 7 and 8 per cent a year,” said Mathews.

“This scale of evolution is nothing short of breathtaking with the multilateral development bank Apicorp putting GCC requirements alone at $85 billion worth of investment in an additional 69GW of generation capacity and $52 billion for transmission and distribution over the next five years,” continued Mathews.

The GCC power capacity needs to expand at an average 8 per cent annually up to 2020 with Saudi Arabia facing the biggest demand and needing to invest $71 billion to increase capacity to 114GW, she said quoting the Apricorp report.

The report also forecasts the renewables sector is on the rise as the region pursues economic diversification policies.

“GCC countries are shifting towards renewable resources for energy generation to preserve their oil wealth. Currently, renewables form the fastest growing energy source for electricity generation. GCC countries are investing heavily in renewable energy to achieve significant targets by 2030-2040,” states the report. 

According to Mathews, solar is now undoubtedly one of the fastest-growing sectors in the region with the Middle East Solar Industry Association putting the number of solar projects under execution throughout the Middle East and North Africa (Mena) at 3,610 with another 1,300 under tender.

“Mega projects are being jumpstarted across both North Africa and the GCC, while there is increasing acceptance and uptake of rooftop solutions, which have witnessed a ten-fold demand surge in the UAE in the last 12 months alone. This advancing sector, now benefitting from region-wide clean energy policies, holds out enormous opportunities for developers, EPC contactors, equipment suppliers and financiers,” she added.

The drive towards renewables is just one emerging trend in a region where the power sector is, according to Mathews, witnessing tectonic transformation.

Meanwhile, the inaugural GSES will be featuring some of the biggest corporate champions in sector transformation, including Tesla, US National Renewable Energy Laboratory, US Department of Energy and Nasa. The summit sessions will lay out the future of the international sector and is expected to attract over 700 attendees.

“Global Smart Energy Summit (GSES) will be a knowledge-sharing, dialogue-forming and networking forum designed to deliver the most comprehensive forecasting, planning and analytics on the way forward for the industry; from reforms, policy and incentives to development in smart grids,” said Ryan O’Donnell, programme director at GSES.

Informa has secured an impressive speaker platform for the summit which includes Jeffrey Brian Straubel, Tesla’s co-founder and chief technical officer and board member of the transformative SolarCity; Andy Karsner, former assistant secretary for energy efficiency at the US Department of Energy, who led the implementation of the Twenty-In-Ten Advanced Energy Initiative and, internationally-acclaimed Big Data guru Kirk Borne.

“This is an unparalleled regional opportunity to hear from the giants of innovation who are upending the way power is generated, distributed and used and are behind the transformative advances of the Fourth Industrial Revolution we are now living through,” added O’Donnell.

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