(MENAFN - The Peninsula) The Peninsula
The energy and utilities sector in Qatar must harness innovative strategies to overcome some of the greatest sustainability challenges in the GCC, Booz Allen Hamilton has said in a report titled ‘The Future is Innovation'.
Combined, the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) states hold almost a third of proven crude-oil reserves and approximately a fifth of global gas reserves. However, declining reserves and revenues along with increased consumption due to rapid industrialization, population growth and rising domestic energy demand, are testing the region's capacity to its limits.
Policy changes and shifting national budgets across the GCC indicate that the region's governments are responding to these challenges, and the region's key energy and utilities players will need to adapt to new realities.
According to estimates by the Qatar Environment and Energy Research Institute (QEERI), one sq km of land in Qatar's desert receives solar energy equivalent to 1.5 million barrels of oil in one year alone. There is increased awareness of the need to diversify the energy mix in the MENA region and this has prompted investments in solar projects to grow from $160m in 2010 to $3.5bn in 2015, according to the Oxford Business Group.
The Qatari government has already announced plans for Qatar's largest Photovoltaics (PV) farm, which will begin operating in 2020 with 200MW of capacity1. The MENA region presents a strong market for PV products, and especially Qatar, as it looks to achieve the goals laid out in its National Vision 2030 plan and increase the sustainability of its energy mix.
However, the potential of solar energy can be impeded by geographical challenges related to dust, heat, and water. In the face of these challenges, innovation strategies can be deployed to establish a sustainable, diversified economy.
Dr Adham Sleiman Vice President of Booz Allen Hamilton Mena.
Dr. Adham Sleiman, Vice President, Booz Allen Hamilton Mena, said: 'The key to sustainable success lies in innovation, which is a force constantly promoted yet all too infrequently embraced. Energy and utilities companies often face concerns over the sharing of intellectual property, stakeholder reluctance to invest in new research, and financing issues all of which can impact innovation.
To make sustainability a viable alternative, Booz Allen has identified a number of key considerations for successful innovation strategies that could enable GCC energy players to fuel the region's growth, long after the world's fossil fuels run dry.
One of the key ingredients outlined includes encouraging employees to think outside the box and making innovation a part of the corporate mandate.
Industry concerns over sharing intellectual property have often hampered the growth of the energy and utilities sector. Evidence suggests that the most effective way to access innovative ideas while protecting vital intellectual property is to combine both open and closed techniques.
Engaging stakeholders through innovative R & D is key. As a step to alleviate the concerns of stakeholders in the energy and utilities space and boost investment in research and development, organizations must first make a choice of whether to pursue fundamental research, or pursue applied research.
Fady Kassatly, Senior Vice President, Booz Allen Hamilton MENA, said: 'Innovation is driving the national agenda of a number of countries in the region. In the energy sector, there is a big opportunity to harness the potential at the grassroots level by empowering human capital. Energy companies must consider fostering an innovative corporate culture that encourages employees to experiment without fear of failure. This will go a long way in ensuring that innovation is not just a buzzword, but a very tangible outcome of out-of-the-box thinking that can help address some of the most pressing global issues today.