Policy Pillar: Hydrogen accelerates across MENA region

These are extraordinary times in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region. A block synonymous with fossil fuel development now finds itself at the geographical and economical centre of the energy transition.

Several key factors – policy-driven governments, abundant sunlight, oil and gas experience, broad industrial bases, global shipping networks and technological know-how – mean the region finds itself in the box seat, much as it did at the discovery of oil in the early 20th century.

One misconception is that Gulf states are only just now entering the fray, when in fact, the renewables policy switch was flicked years ago.

The UAE founded Masdar, its urban living showpiece, back in 2006, and while the dream of a fully sustainable city has yet to be realised, the district has grown to incorporate the Masdar Institute of Science and Technology and Siemens’ regional headquarters, as well as the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA). Seventeen years on, the renewables seed has well and truly germinated.

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