The electricity and water sector in any country, in general, and in the GCC countries, in particular, play a vital role in the overall economic prosperity. This sector provides the corner stone of the development and plays a focal role in the interdependence of the strategies of other economic sectors in the overall mix of the components of the national economy.
The Government of the Kingdom of Bahrain has exerted great efforts over the past five years in order to ensure the sustainability of this sector through diversifying the sources of electricity energy on one hand, as well as increasing and emphasizing energy efficiency, on the other hand.
STEEB_2017 “The first international solar energy forum and exhibition” will be held in line with the Government efforts which are spearheaded by the “SEU – the Sustainable Energy Unit which is presently implementing a comprehensive strategy for the production of electricity through the available other natural resources in the Kingdom of Bahrain, particularly renewable energies such as solar and wind energies which are the most important natural resources that God has given to this part of the world.
We have showed our utmost support for this gathering since the initial proposals to convene this important event in the Kingdom of Bahrain; and we are keen to ensure its success. The forum will discuss two mainstreams, namely: to support all possible investment options in renewable energies, especially solar energy; and secondly, the evolving rapid developments of the technology in the form of the main plants in the solar installation systems, and the various associated equipment. A large exhibition is held in parallel with the conference to present technologies from companies specializing in renewable energy.
I wish also to say a few words about the Sustainable Energy Unit, which is working directly under the Minister of Electricity and Water Affairs, to support and monitor at the national level the issue of renewable energy strategies and initiatives including solar energy and enhancing energy efficiency, with the aim of lessening the burden on the fast depleting natural resources (i.e. natural gas) as well as reducing the negative impacts on the environment. SEU’s role and responsibilities are being closely monitored within the government’s priorities framework.
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.