A well-developed industry brings high value to relevant local players, and in turn improves local economic and social benefits. For Middle East & North Africa (MENA) countries, it has been testified by oil and gas value chain. As renewable energies including solar CSP are gaining more attentions, local content in renewables are becoming a quite important topic among MENA countries.
MENA concentrating solar power (CSP) industry is still at early stage but with rapid development, generating a primary value chain locally. Looking at the major CSP markets in MENA like Dubai of UAE and Saudi Arabia, despite of ambitious target made by the governments, we could see only few engagement of local players in the CSP projects. Most of the key players are from international firms, from key components suppliers to technology providers, whilst few work could be carried out by local businesses such as supply of basic simple equipment (cable, rope), implementation of basic civil work, etc. Local value chain and content ratio improvement in MENA CSP industry will be a key discussion during CSP Focus MENA 2017 Sept.13-14 Dubai conference.
This phenomenon could be attributed to three reasons. Firstly, unlike China market with great support of official 1.345 GW demonstration project program, there are not enough tangible plans for CSP allocation in Middle East markets. As a result, local businesses are lack of motivation due to the ambiguous commercial prospect. Secondly, international suppliers have gained mature technologies and occupied large amount of global share, however, it takes longer time for local new comers to realize the learning curve. Facing those veterans, local manufacturers should invest much more to make their services and products more competitive. And inevitably, the trials are risky. Thirdly, wealthy countries in MENA region prefer to use ready-made technologies and workers from international companies, that’s why local content targets were established though, few supportive policies followed.
At the same time, to bring real benefits to local players from CSP industry, the countries are advancing support in building CSP plants. Morocco Noor complex indicates that government actual support plays very critical role in achieving local requirements goal. According to Moroccan Agency for Solar Energy (MASEN), the operational Noor1 CSP project has realized 34~38% local content ratio, 4~8% higher than the initial target. And the under-construction Noor 2&3 CSP projects are expected to get 35~40%. Though local companies are not able to provide key components yet, most of the construction work were implemented by local workers, and the projects also purchased local raw materials as much as possible.
Like MASEN, the governments are eager to lecture local workers through trainee program from international experienced firms like Abengoa, SENER, ACWA etc. And young college students are able to access complete professional lessons and skills regarding engineering, construction and other relevant disciplines. All these efforts are contributing to higher local content ratio, showing a bright blueprint of establishing a mature value chain locally in MENA CSP industry.
Speakers sharing the topic during CSP Focus MENA 2017 Sept.13-14 Dubai are from experienced international and local developers/EPCs including Andrea Lovato, Executive Director-Head of Renewable Development from ACWA Power, Wim Alen, Senior Vice President Business Development from ENGIE and Xavier Lara, Executive Director of Construction and Services Business Unit from Empresarios Agrupados etc.