Sponsored content: Energy diversification in a new oil era

17 November 2016
On 12 October, key players in the region's power sector participated in a high-level roundtable discussion on renewable energy, hosted by Ince & Co

Renewable energy has long been seen as the “green” alternative to conventional means of energy production – the environmental benefits of renewable energy sources are well documented and uncontroversial.  Not so many years ago, the Dubai government’s pioneering plans for diversifying its energy sources – for example, the strategies to increase the Emirate’s installed solar capacity from 5% to 25% by 2030 and Dubai’s total power output from clean energy sources to 75% by 2050 – would, to many, have seemed ambitious at best and, at worst, homage to the ultimately inefficient, uneconomical and therefore (arguably) flawed global “green” revolution.

[Download Ince & Co’s energy diversification report here: Energy Diversification in a New Oil Era Findings Report]

However, with the falling cost of renewable energy production, particularly from solar and thermal sources and increasing efficiencies, renewable energy can no longer be seen as only an environmentally friendly, but costly, alternative to conventional fossil-fuelled power production, but rather as an economically viable, if not financially compelling, means to meet the ever increasing global demand for power.  With lower oil prices and no immediate/ short term signs of recovery, it is clear that the Dubai government’s enterprising diversification strategy and focus on renewable energy was perceptive,  progressive and timely.

Dubai Electricity & Water Authority (Dewa) is one of the leading regional (if not global) visionaries for clean energy solutions, as was recently demonstrated again by its implementation of the Shams Dubai initiative – an initiative designed to encourage consumers to install photovoltaic (PV) panels on their rooftops to generate electricity from solar power, with the electricity used “onsite” and any surplus exported to Dewa’s grid.  Whilst there continues to be challenges for those operating in the renewables sector – from the storage of solar power to the current costs of “next generation” concentrated solar power (CSP) schemes; from a workable legislative framework to encourage and protect owners, landlords or tenants in the installation of rooftop PV panels to the required education in new technology to provide comfort for local and regional financiers – it is inevitable that other governments and utilities in the region will soon follow in Dewa’s footsteps if they have not already done so.

With the growing demand for power, the falling costs and increasing efficiencies of renewable energy production, the rapid development in renewable technology, the continuing unpredictability of oil prices and the global drive for a “green” revolution, the current circumstances represent a perfect storm for those benefitting from and / or investing/ operating in the renewables sector.  It is surely only a matter of time before new and innovative financing models and the considerable liquidity held within regional institutional investors – which have, to date, seemed relatively reluctant to realise the potential opportunities in investing in renewable energy – are aligned to further drive the potentially exponential growth in the renewable energy sector.

Ince & Co has significant global experience of advising clients in the energy sector, with particular expertise in the arena of offshore exploration and production and renewables. We represent leading international and local project financiers, contractors and service companies on energy projects, as well as developers, operators and utility companies. Ince & Co is at the cutting edge of legal services in the energy sector and leads the development of new contracting and financing structures on individual projects and generally in the industry. Underpinning our legal analysis is an understanding of business practice in the sector and our client’s commercial needs.

We aim to offer our clients international best-practice, commercial solutions tailored to the local markets in which we operate.

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