October 08, 2012
Demonstrating their commitment to support the scaling up of wind power in North Africa and spurring investment in the region’s growing wind power market, Julia Goddard, Event Director, Green Power Conferences recently interviewed Khalid Benhamou, Managing Director, Sahara Wind, Carlos Martin Rivals, Development Director for Northern Africa, EDP Renewables and Peter Gish, Managing Director, North Africa, UPC Renewables gaining valuable insight into the most recent wind power developments in the region.
GPC: At what pace will wind power grow in the region?
Khalid Benhamou, Sahara Wind: The wind energy potential of the region is quite significant. The growth of wind energy is essentially limited by grid/systems absorption capabilities. Frameworks aimed at developing an industrial integration of the components of a wind power industry will therefore condition the pace and deployment of wind power projects in the region. These represent a prerequisite for regional market integration as well as the deployment of large projects utilizing HVDC grid technologies. Due to their HVDC technologies, electric grid limitations to wind energy developments for these projects are easily overcome.
Carlos Martin Rivals, EDP Renewables: We expect an annual growth of more than 600MW per year until 2012 and an even higher growth afterwards we are participating in the ongoing 850MW Morocco tender and actively looking for other opportunities in the region.
Peter Gish, UPC Renewables: Much depends on the pace of deregulation, macro-economic factors and the grid.
GPC: What do you think is the future of government support for wind power in the region?
Khalid Benhamou, Sahara Wind: With the lack of carbon taxation on fossil fuels (coal and natural gas mainly) as in the current context, government support for wind power will be driven by mostly by social considerations. These will be conditioned by frameworks and policies aimed at generating local employment in the industrial integration of a wind power manufacturing industry.
Carlos Martin Rivals, EDP Renewables: We are observing a solid and increasing support for renewables as they become cost competitive and countries look for cleaner and indigenous sources of electricity.
Peter Gish, UPC Renewables: There are multiple challenges, not the least of which are economic factors and the lack of support from Europe (CDM mechanism providing very little to base line economics etc.)
GPC: What do you think has been the most interesting recent developments in the market?
Khalid Benhamou, Sahara Wind: The sharp drop in wind turbine prices due to the increase of wind manufacturing capacities with the advent of Chinese manufacturers and a collapse of the global market linked to the economic crisis. The latter, combined with political events unfolding in the region (the Arab Spring) will likely put governments under pressure. These could respond either by developing industrial policies adapted to the region’s youth employment challenges (in integrating a green manufacturing sector) or to the contrary by saturating their respective grids with imported turn-key wind projects and pursuing fossil fuels subsidies.
Carlos Martin Rivals, EDP Renewables: Morocco stands out as a front-runner through recent wind and solar tenders and bilateral schemes with industrials. Other countries in the region also have ambitious plans.
Peter Gish, UPC Renewables: Greater awareness of the role of renewables in the power generation mix.
GPC: What will be the most important topic of discussion at Wind Power North Africa 2012?
Khalid Benhamou, Sahara Wind: The presentation of projects and policy frameworks for optimal wind power deployments in North Africa.
Carlos Martin Rivals, EDP Renewables: How to attract investments in the region and ensure they translate into local industrialization.
Peter Gish, UPC Renewables: Geopolitical situation.
With Morocco standing out as a front runner, join us at the Wind Power North Africa conference and exhibition and be at the forefront of the growing North African wind market.
Providing an outstanding scope for networking, meet face-to-face with key players in the industry, with c-level representatives from: ONE, GDF Suez, EDP Renovaveis, Italgen, Cegelec, Sahara Wind, UPC Renewables North Africa, EIB, SIE, CME, Plus many more.
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The wind energy potential of the region is quite significant. We expect an annual growth of more than 600MW per year until 2012 and an even higher growth afterwards
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