Media and Supporting Sustainable Development
The Kingdom of Bahrain has the pleasure to welcome its distinguished guests, the representatives of the governments, companies, and academic, research and media institutions participating in the International Solar and Renewable Energy Forum & Exhibition (STEEB 2017) – an international event that highlights the latest developments in the field of solar and renewable energy.
There is no doubt that holding this International Investment Forum & Exhibition stems from the keenness of the Kingdom of Bahrain under the leadership of his Majesty King Hamad Bin Isa Al Khalifa, to promote sustainable development with its economic, social and environmental dimensions in a balanced and integrated manner, in accordance with the Constitution, the National Action Charter, the Government Action Plan for 2015-2018, and the Economic Vision 2030 towards building and developing a diversified economy that is based on knowledge, innovation, production, competitiveness, equitability and sustainability in line with the goals of the 2030 Sustainable Development Plan.
In this respect, the Kingdom of Bahrain is committed to consolidating its national development achievements and enhancing the global partnership in achieving sustainable economic growth whose main objectives are ensuring decent work and education for all, addressing the phenomenon of climate change, protecting the environment, eradicating poverty and hunger, providing food and water security, and ensuring that everyone enjoys healthy living and well-being, achieving gender equality and establishing peaceful societies.
The Sustainable Energy Unit will follow up the implementation of the two national renewable energy plans and raise the efficiency of energy in partnership with relevant ministries and governmental and private institutions in accordance with the national environmental and development legislation and strategies and international agreements to achieve optimal utilization of energy and strengthen the information and awareness programs to rationalise its consumption.
Our participation in the International Investment Forum & Exhibition stems from the close interrelationship between the media and development. We recognize the significance of the crucial role of the media in promoting dialog and mutual understanding among peoples, civilisations and cultures, in developing social joint responsibility in maintaining the security, stability, progress and prosperity of the nations and in promoting sustainable development, in the context of optimal investment of natural and human resources.
In this context, we reiterate our keenness to provide an integrated media coverage of the works of this international economic forum and to inform the various media of the opportunities and prospects for investing in renewable energy, in light of the rich natural resources of our Gulf and Arab region and its potential to produce solar and wind energy, which support national development programs to reduce dependence on oil as a major source of energy and income and diversify the economic and productivity base.
As we affirm our pride in the presence of this honorable gathering of officials and businessmen, we call for the joint utilisation of the opportunities available to promote trade and investment as well as the optimal environment the Kingdom provides for attracting major international companies and establishing more joint ventures thanks to its economic freedom, open legislative, investment opportunities and skilled technical staff.
As it moves forward with its development and civilization progress within the framework of the reforms launched by His Majesty the King, with the support of His Royal Highness Prince Khalifa bin Salman Al Khalifa, the Prime Minister, and the backing of His Royal Highness Prince Salman bin Hamad Al Khalifa, the Crown Prince, Deputy Supreme Commander, First Deputy of the Prime Minister, the Kingdom of Bahrain is committed to supporting and leading the initiatives available to invest in renewable energies and energy efficiency and to strengthening its regional and global leading position as a model of openness, sustainable economic and social development.
Earlier in 2017, the Government approved SEU proposals given in NREAP – the National Renewable Energy Action Plan, to elevate the share of renewable energy to 5% by 2025 and 10% by 2035. Work has begun to reach some 250 MW of renewables by 2025, and solar energy has the lion share of 170 megawatts over the next five years.
Various undertakings are being persuade in solar energy projects including:
1) Implementation of rooftops solar energy projects on buildings owned by the government.
2) Switching public streets lighting to the so called “Net-Zero Energy” using solar energy, as well as switching to energy efficient bulbs.
3) Work is underway to design and build a central solar project with a capacity of some 100 MW.
4) Implementation of decentralized solar projects on household’s roof tops in the residential sector; a pilot project for a number of Ministry of Housing units, that were previously allocated to local nationals, has already begun.
5) Starting a comprehensive work in conjunction with an international consultant to develop the full regulatory framework and technical requirements for the application of “Net Metering” system.
6) Tendering procedures has started for the conversion of W2E – waste to energy. With these projects in hand, we believe there are promising opportunities in investments as well as development of national expertise and competencies in the renewable field.
As the Minister in charge of this important sector, I would like to express my thanks and appreciation for the leadership of our country, His Majesty King Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa, and the Prime Minister, His Royal Highness Prince Khalifa bin Salman Al Khalifa, and the Crown Prince and Deputy Supreme Commander, First Deputy Prime Minister His Royal Highness Prince Salman bin Hamad Al Khalifa, for their unlimited support to ensure the long term security of the sector. Our thanks and appreciation also goes to “AGE” Arab Gate Expos who have worked so closely with the SEU in putting this event together.
We look forward to the success of the discussions and deliberations of this gathering to raise awareness and open investment horizons for renewable energy in the Kingdom of Bahrain.