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  GCC States…Strategic and vital plans and projects to enhance the level of GCC energy security and sustainability

GCC- Abu Dhabi

The GCC States are keen to develop the joint cooperative system among them through a number of vital and strategic projects and plans to achieve economic integration among member states. This is aimed at strengthening the economies of member states and their relationship with various countries and global blocs in order to achieve political and social stability, security and regional and global peace.

Through its participation in a pavilion at the 24th World Energy Exhibition held in Abu Dhabi during the period 9-12 September 2019, the GCC Secretariat General showcased the efforts exerted by the GCC States to support energy security, preserve supplies and ensure sustainability through Secretariat General’s sectors and its affiliated bodies and organizations. Among the most important of these efforts is the GCC interconnection power grid project, one of the most important joint infrastructure projects of the GCC States, which has greatly supported the level of energy security in the GCC by providing support and reliability of the electricity grid of the GCC member States. This strategic project provides 100% reliability, dependability and efficiency to the GCC States electricity grids and protects them from any interruption resulting from power generation, through the instant support by the smooth transmission of the required energy through the GCC grid ensuring stability of the GCC States electricity grid. Since the start of operation, the support cases reached more than 1,800 cases till now.

This project has not only enhanced the security of electric power, but also resulted in economic savings coming from the ability of each country benefiting from the reserves of other GCC States, in order to help countries reduce the volume of their reserves, which constitutes an economic saving for them. The benefits of the GCC interconnection power grid also extend to the cost of building new power plants, thereby reducing operating and maintenance expenses and reducing carbon emissions. These economic savings, received by GCC Member States since the start of the operation, have been estimated at approximately $ 2.4 billion.

In addition to the success of the GCC interconnection power grid in enhancing energy security and the economic savings, it has achieved another phase of its objectives, i.e. the phase of the electricity trade among the GCC States. To stimulate, encourage and develop the energy trade market, the GCC Interconnection Authority (GCCIA) has launched the “GCC Electricity Trading Market” platform. This is a program developed by the GCCIA's own cadres, which aims to stimulate the conclusion of daily energy trade contracts between the GCC Member States, similar to the global electric power markets, and launched in its first phase (Day Ahead Market), which enables participants to put up sale and purchase offers for each hour of the 24 hours of the next day, where the sale and purchase deals are concluded automatically according to the sale and purchase offers, which are entered by traders who are authorized by their countries and companies securely, while maintaining the confidentiality and identity of the trader until the completion of transactions. The system also allows booking and pricing of the required linkage capacity and settlement of sales and purchase deals by issuing invoices automatically and coordinating the collection of such invoices between Member States.

One of the expected results of the operation of this platform is to enable the GCC companies, organizations and institutions to make optimal use of electric energy and trade it economically, which earns them financial returns and economic savings of approximately $ 1 billion annually, represented in saving the cost of building new power plants, thus reducing operation and maintenance expenses, in addition to reducing carbon emissions.

At the exhibition, the Secretariat General displayed a number of projects, including the GCC Environmental Portal, which is a unified official environmental window for the GCC States. It aims to enumerate, collect and share environmental data of GCC, regional and international countries. 

The Secretariat General pointed out that the GCC States have adopted a unified system for environmental assessment of projects and a document of policies and general principles for environmental protection.

The Secretariat General also reviewed a number of Integrative efforts of the GCC States in the field of energy, including the petroleum strategy, petroleum media strategy and unified water strategy.

The Bureau of the Technical Secretariat of Anti-Injurious Practices in International Trade of the Secretariat General presented an aspect of its efforts exerted to defend the interests of the GCC industry. The Office was able to rule out imposing restrictions on many Gulf exports and preserved more than US $ 5 billion of investments to Gulf factories through protecting them from injurious practices (dumping).

The Patent Office of the GCC Secretariat General reviewed the number of patents granted in the fields of energy and renewable energy, which reached more than 2000 patents.

Gulf Industry Consultation Organization‘s presentation included the Organization's contribution to the preparation of several technical studies related to energy rationalization, environmental impact of the industrial sector, and studies related to converting the waste-to-energy. The Organization pointed out that the total investments in transformative industries in the GCC States reached about 400 billion US dollars by the end of 2017, while the investments in energy and renewable energy projects in 2017-2018 reached more than US $ 8 billion.

The GCC Accreditation Center (GAC) of the GCC System reviewed its efforts in the field of renewable and clean energy in the GCC States. The GCC Accreditation Center (GAC) of the GCC system provides conformity assessments to verify the suitability and extent of safety of energy products and their Suppliers’ compliance with best practices in accordance with international standards, in addition to  availability of GCC specifications of various products in the GCC Standards Store, to ensure energy efficiency and safety. In addition, there is another energy efficiency project, "Energy Conservation Code" which ensures the minimum Energy efficiency requirements in designing and construction of new buildings and their heating, ventilation and air conditioning systems.

Until recently, the GCC States registered a significant increase in energy patents. The number of patents granted by the GCC Patent Office in the field of petroleum and natural gas engineering reached 2023 patents, while the number of patents submitted to the office in the energy and sustainable energy reached 446 applications, reflecting the efforts exerted by the GCC States to instill a culture of sustainability in the community, and strengthen the ability of innovation and entrepreneurship to ensure the support of innovations and the introduction of new technologies that serve the energy field and achieve global trends in the promotion of energy efficiency in all fields of the sector.

The GCC States have achieved remarkable growth in the global sustainable development goals (SDG) index in 2018, exceeding 75%. With regard to the GCC States' efforts to achieve the seventh sustainable development goal (SDG 7), which stipulate “affordable access to reliable and sustainable modern energy services for all”, the GCC States are comparable to the United States of America in achieving this goal and they are better than the average for the West Asia region, where 97.0% of the population has access to electricity, while the share of renewable energy in total energy consumption is lower in the GCC compared to other regions of the world.