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As the region?s leading energy event takes place from 5-7 March at Dubai World Trade Centre, Claudia Konieczna, exhibition director at Informa Industrial Group, talks about the rapid growth of renewables and the adoption of digitalisation across the region and the globe

Claudia Konieczna Exhibition Director Informa Industrial GroupClaudia Konieczna is the exhibition director at Informa Industrial Group. (Image source: Informa)

Technical Review Middle East (TRME): Can you comment on the futuristic outlook for renewable energy market in the GCC?

Claudia Konieczna (CK): With the fluctuating oil prices in recent years, the renewable energy market in the GCC is primed for rapid growth and is expected to play a critical role in the region?s ongoing diversification plans.

Amid rising population figures and increased urbanisation, the GCC will require power infrastructure investment totalling US$109bn over the next five years, according to the MENA Power Industry Outlook Report. With the widespread adoption of renewables, the regional market is a lucrative option for power generation capacity, which reached US$2.1bn in 2018 and is forecasted to hit US$25bn by 2022.

GCC governments are now prioritising renewables and the UAE is leading the way thanks to mega projects such as the Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum Solar Park in Dubai, which is worth an estimated U$968mn, and the 1.2 GW Adwea Sweihan plant in Abu Dhabi, which has been labelled the world?s largest solar power plant. As part of its ?Energy Strategy 2050?, the UAE has a bold objective to generate 44 per cent of its electricity needs from renewables by the middle of the century.

TRME: What are the core sub?sectors in the power industry that the industry needs to focus on in the region?

CK: Given the unprecedented demand for power in the region the industry requires innovation and new solutions across all sectors, and the Middle East Electricity (MEE) will provide a unique platform for power players, large and small, new starters and established leaders to demonstrate game?changing, across?the?board opportunities throughout the show?s five focused sectors: power generation; transmission and distribution; lighting; solar and energy storage and management.

Smart grids will have a crucial role to play in the future of energy infrastructure, diversification and conservation.

In tandem, energy storage and management will have an important role to play in helping to drive smart grid adoption and ease government concerns on who to consistently meet the growing demand for reliable, on?demand power, with new effective storage solutions a major focus.

Such is the overwhelming global interest in energy storage and management, MEE 2019, which runs from 5?7 March at Dubai World Trade Centre (DWTC) will launch a dedicated technical seminar addressing solar and energy storage and management solutions ? the latest addition to the show?s powerful Knowledge Programme.

TRME: What role can the T&D sector play in optimising energy efficiency?

CK: Research from the Arab Petroleum Investments Corporation (APICORP) states regional power suppliers will require US$34bn for transmission and distribution over the next five years. With such demand, there are a range of opportunities available for innovation in the sector. Automation is going to be key, specifically in solutions that require limited supervision and can control power loss and reduce emissions. These advanced solutions will result in energy efficiency. While all sectors across the power industry will undoubtedly have to embrace technology, T&D is one such sector that can significantly benefit from digitisation to help drive a smarter more sustainable future for energy.

TRME: How important is the role of a platform like MEE to further push the sustainability agenda in the GCC region?

CK: As the world?s leading power event, MEE brings together global industry leaders and major disruptors to focus attention on the key industry developments which are changing the entire face of the power industry across the Middle East and North Africa.

?MEE takes the form of five dedicated shows within a combined mega?exhibition, with solar power having its own dedicated segment due to its high potential. Solar at MEE is the largest gathering of this specialised sector?s professionals in the Middle East and Africa, offering the most effective trade focused platform to international manufacturers and distributors looking to meet regional buyers and driving the agenda for sustainability.

Solar will also feature heavily in the comprehensive knowledge programme Informa Exhibitions is mounting to coincide with MEE, including the much?anticipated Intersolar Conference.

TRME: Are there any new additions to the MEE 2019 edition?

CK: The MEE will represent the biggest regional industry gathering in the event?s history, which now spans four decades with all aspects of the industry in focus and some of the biggest names in the power sector participating.

The exhibition will host a range of technological breakthroughs, while a comprehensive knowledge programme will coincide with the show, including the much? anticipated, and CPD accredited Power Generation O&M Conference.

Topics already listed for discussion include Digital retrofits for improved power plant efficiencies, value?based maintenance, and redefining power plant performance using cloud?based analytics.

The show will also offer a diverse range of professional education and training opportunities were attendees will be able to learn about the latest technologies at exhibitor?led technical seminars.

Furthermore, a pioneering one?day conference focusing on IoT lighting, the first of its kind in the region, will be part of the expansive knowledge programme at the show. The conference will explore how smart lighting solutions, driven by the emergence of the Internet of Things (IoT), are on the way to the region as governments and municipalities across the Middle East pursue smart city goals.

The conference will take place on day one of the MEE with experts from the Middle East, South America, Europe, India and the USA probing the potential for leveraging IoT within the lighting sector and its ability to transform lifestyles.

We are also hosting a VIP Trade Mission Programme this year. Around 100 representatives comprising of influential ministers, buyers and business leaders from across the Middle East, Africa and Asia will be attending the event with a proven business to be conducted in the region.