Technological advances and a more attractive risk profile for renewable energy investments is driving the advance of the sector, Fawaz Al Muharrami, Director, Delivery, Bids and Supply Chain, Masdar Clean Energy, said in a wide-ranging video interview with Energy & Utilities.
The renewables sector has changed “dramatically” over the past decade, Al Muharrami told the platform, with the cost for installing photovoltaic solar in the Middle East falling 80 percent. Alongside technological advancements, there has also been a “significant appetite increase from the lending perspective,” Al Muharrami said, with financiers becoming more familiar with the sector and business models, and accordingly more confident to invest, helping to reduce costs.
Digitalization has been a “key component” in the sector’s development, with Masdar deploying a range of technologies, such as using drones to inspect plants remotely, and analytics to crunch the data collected. For phase three of the Mohammad bin Rashid Solar Park in Dubai, robots have been deployed that can clean solar panels without using water – both providing more efficient power and conserving valuable resources.
As an Abu Dhabi-based company, Masdar is also playing its part in the career development of UAE nationals, Al Muharrami said, with three-quarters of management positions at the Shams project being filled by Emiratis. Masdar also supports initiatives such as the Youth4Sustainability platform to help UAE citizens develop careers in the sustainability sector, he told the platform.
The COVID-19 pandemic has not had a “significant” effect on supply chains in the sector, Al Muharrami said, although there had been some “initial impact” in the early stages with some suppliers in China and also in Europe.