Zimmermann also pointed out that though the progress is rapid and cost of renewable energy production has come down significantly, there is still a long way to go.

The Qatar Alternative Energy Investors Summit, being held in strategic partnership with Qatar General Electricity and Water Corporation on March 16th – 17th, kicked off yesterday at the Sharq Village and Spa in Doha. Hosting over 100 key players from the alternative energy industry, the summit provided its participating projects and funds a business deal flow platform by ensuring exclusive networking opportunities with serious industry investors. Pressing issues and obstacles in the industry were also highlighted and touched upon at the summit.

Amongst the topics covered at the first day of the summit, the current situation of the nuclear reactors in Japan was discussed and how it serves as a learning experience for the industry globally on project planning during the construction phases needs to take into account disasters and natural hazards. The summit hosted over 12 ambassadors, amongst other VIP representations from Qatar. His Excellency Kenjiro Monji, Ambassador of Japan to Qatar, expressed his gratitude towards the summit organisers and the participants for extending their support and condolences for Japan.

The first interactive panel discussion yesterday tackled the issue of investment perspective for renewable energy industry which was conducted by Daniel Calderon, Head of Organisation and Investment at Masdar, Benjamin Cotton, Partner, Earth Capital PartnersCapital Partners and Jens Yahya Zimmermann, Partner, New Silk Route Capital. The discussions were moderated by Oliver Cornock, Regional Editor of Oxford Business Group.

Zimmermann outlined three broad segments of the renewable energy industry which offer investment opportunities. These include manufacturing products for renewable energy such as solar cells or wind turbines. The other end of the spectrum includes operators of renewable energy plants and in the middle lie service providers of peripheral products to the renewable energy industry. He stressed the need for regulations, which he said, are very important not only as far as subsidies are concerned, they are also important when it comes to providing a shield for domestic players to make it to the manufacturing stage.

Zimmermann also pointed out that though the progress is rapid and cost of renewable energy production has come down significantly, there is still a long way to go. Therefore, he added, governments will continue to play a valuable role with Germany, Spain and the US providing good examples of government policy working well and being able to develop a meaningful renewable energy industry.

Benjamin Cotton, Partner at Earth Capital PartnersCapital Partners LLP expressed views on investments in alternative energy, and that environmental preservation is prioritised for the short and long run results. Solar energy was the hot topic for the day, with strong participation of the regions’ leading investors seeking opportunities in solar projects and solar technology providers. Some of the leading solar projects and technologies entering the regional market were a part of summit. Daniel Calderon, Head of Investment for Europe Region, Masdar Abu Dhabi Future Energy explained the crucial role banks can play in financing projects, provided both the key players are in the picture; the right sponsor and the special technology needed.

Samuel Higgins, Partner at Emirates International Capital Advisory and Chairman and CEO of Axial Vector Engine Corporation introduced the recent opening of an innovative solar powered street lamps manufacturing plant in the United Arab Emirates. This product has the capacity to provide light for up to six days in the absence of sunlight.

On day two, March 17th, the summit hosted renowned speakers, including Professor Bohdan Zakiewicz, Nobel Prize Nominee and Chairman and Founder of Ecological Mining Academy, Dr. Horst Kreuter, Member of the Board of Directors, Captain Chris Shroeder, Head of CSR, Environment & Fuel Optimisation, Qatar Airways. Professor Bohdan led the presentation that explained the future of the production of low cost electricity and water through the 3rd generation of geothermic power plants. The application of drilling holes up to 10km deep in 30days to harness geothermic energy more efficiently was highly scrutinized by the geothermal industry expert Dr. Horst Kreuter, Member of the Board of the International Geothermal Association. He exclaimed this application to be "magical", and compared it to being able to fly to the moon and back in 30 days, since technology to support the drilling, cooling, and extraction does not exist. Though the concept is still to be implemented, the future looks bright as many technology providers are keen to be a part of this exciting new initiative.

Captain Chris Schroeder and Dr. Nimir Elbashir, Professor from the Texas A&M University in Qatar, discussed the commercialization of gas-to-liquids and biofuel technology in the mass transport worldwide, especially the importance in the aviation sector. Furthermore, it explored how private industry and academia can work together and how such partnerships can benefit each party. The summit closed leaving its participants with new key industry contacts and insights on the future of the alternative energy industry in the region.

Participating investor representation at the summit includes:
· Qatar Chambers Of Commerce And Trade
· Qatar Development Bank
· Qatar Financial Centre Authority
· Qatar First Investment Bank
· Qatar International Islamic Bank
· Qatar Islamic Bank
· Qatar National Bank (QNB)
· Qatar Petroleum
· National Bank of Abu Dhabi
· National Bank Of Bahrain
· National Technology Enterprise – Kuwait Investment Authority
· QInvest
· Salam International Investment
· Standard Chartered Bank
· Sumitomo Mitsui Banking
· The Royal Bank of Scotland
· Union National Bank
· United Development Company
· Earth Capital PartnersCapital Partners (UK)
· HSBC Bank Middle East
· Bahrain Investment House
· ITOCHU Corporation
· KBC Aldini Capital
· Mac Capital Limited
· Mashreq Bank
· Masraf Al Rayan
· Mubadala GE Capital
· Mubadala Infrastructure Partners Limited
· Amman Chamber of Commerce

Sponsors and partners at the summit include; I2BF, Ecolutions, Azmeel International for Construction and Trading, Eland Private Equity, RECL, Moserbaer, Solairedirect, Kedco Plc, Novenergia II, International Geothermal Association, Enterprise Ireland, Polish Wind Energy Association, International herald Tribune, CNBC Arabia, Zawya, amongst others.