Thursday, April 18, 2013

Emirates NBD Wholesale Bank underlines significance of investments in green energy for GCC economies

Investments in green energy are crucial for GCC states to continue being positioned as the leading energy bloc particularly in the event of oil and gas price reversal, according to Giel-Jan Van der Tol, General Manager – Wholesale Banking, Emirates NBD. Van der Tol, stressed the importance of ‘being ahead of the curve in green energy investments,’ during his presentation at the Dubai Global Energy Forum, at which Emirates NBD Wholesale Banking is also serving as a Platinum Sponsor.
Organised by the Dubai Supreme Council of Energy, the Dubai Global Energy Forum 2013 is being held with the objective to provide a platform for energy leaders and experts to exchange views on emerging regional and global issues related to energy policies, programs, technologies and investment opportunities.
Van der Tol also called for strong governmental support to building green opportunities in the Gulf, through various joint initiatives like establishing grid connectivity, sovereign support schemes and sovereign supported Green Fund, which would assist in promoting investments in Green Energy projects.
“Renewable energy sources are crucial for developing sustainable economies, and they can be extremely helpful as practical alternatives to damaging carbon-intensive fuels,” said Van der Tol. “The UAE, without doubt, is taking great strides towards the creation of infrastructure for sustainable development, and as the leading financial services provider, Emirates NBD is committed to supporting the country’s global role in finding practical solutions to the world’s energy challenges.”
Specifically, Emirates NBD Wholesale Banking extends market-leading investment banking services to its customer base through innovative Key Account Planning process, to identify customers who would most benefit from investment banking services in this sector. In addition, providing finance for investments in the green energy sector is a strategic component of Emirates NBD Wholesale Bank’s strategy to grow its loan book and become the banking powerhouse in the region.
Outlining the important drivers for renewable energy investments in the Middle East, Van der Tol said that the region’s geographical presence holds strong potential opportunities from climatic perspective for both solar and wind energy. “Not only do such alternate energy investments promote greener regional environment and share in reduction of global warming, they could also provide significant employment opportunities while widening the economic base.”
Identifying some of the challenges to regional investment in green energy such as the cost competitiveness of green energy versus conventional energy, the financing challenges and the need for green energy incentives, Van der Tol emphasised the significance of governmental support. Underlining that implicit fuel subsidies keep GCC energy prices significantly lower to fuel at market prices, he explained that investors often shy away from the green energy sector because of the high capital investment and operations and maintenance costs.