Saving Energy in the Desert

May 18, 2012

 

ICONET-GCC, a European Commission funded project to develop and support the bi-regional dialogue between the Gulf Cooperation Council and EU Member States, invited Julia to Chair a Session on Energy Security at the projects concluding conference in Abu Dhabi (May 6-7).  The session consisted of 5 lively and informed presentations by experts from Europe and the Gulf, followed by extensive question and answer exchanges.  Speakers all agreed that regardless of whether an area is energy ‘rich’ such as the Gulf or energy ‘dependent’ such as Europe, the long-term availability of sustainable energy resources is a matter of global concern. The Masdar Institute, lead for INCONET in the Gulf, has been addressing the shared renewable energy challenge between the Gulf and Europe by focusing on CSP with storage allows the reduction of the second peak  and PV which operates adequately over a wide range of atmospheric conditions (especially during prevalent low-DNI days). INCONET members see a need for further EU-Gulf cooperation commissioning special reports on clean energy topics of mutual importance and organizing Clean Energy career fairs to enhance linkages among stakeholders.  Nevertheless, it was clear from the discussion that energy cooperation is still stronger between the Gulf and the USA than Europe.  Small Gulf-based institutes (where staff time rather than money is a priority concern) find it easier to forge collaborative ties with American institutions of higher education as the system and procedures are more uniform than in Europe. Furthermore, these same organizations find it hard to navigate the time-consuming and complex nature of many EU funding streams.

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