Bahrain and other GCC countries should integrate supply chains locally or regionally for the energy transition, to reduce risk of disruption.
This along with other lessons from Germany’s energy transition were suggested during a panel discussion titled ‘Competitiveness in a transforming energy sector’, part of the closing ceremony for the ‘Energy in Transition – Powering Tomorrow’ exhibition at the Bahrain University in Sakhir.
“Bahrain should integrate its supply chains required for the energy transition – both locally and in the region,” Germany renewable energy consultant Arepo founder Dr Christine Wörlen.
“Relying on international trade is not bad, but they should also mitigate their risk by diversifying their supply chains and having a ‘fall back’ option in case of disruption.”
Germany had to learn the hard way. It no longer depends on Russian imports for its energy supply, the country’s finance minister recently announced. Christian Lindner said Germany had completely diversified its energy infrastructure since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine last year.
Dr Worlen also echoed the words of other panellists in the session – University professor Dr Hanan Al Buflasa and Derasat Director of Studies and Research, and Director of Economics and Energy Studies Dr Omar Al Ubaydli – in calling for continued international co-operation regarding technological development.
Dr Al Buflasa added that any technology to be introduced in the kingdom must be tested and adapted to Bahrain’s climate conditions – citing the example of high salination levels and the ensuing corrosion in Bahrain’s water as a reason that floating wind turbines and solar panels may not be sustainable.
“Using energy more efficiently must also be tackled before new technology is brought in,” she added.
Dr Al Ubaydli discussed introducing economic incentives and infrastructure to encourage Bahrain’s residents and citizens to be more efficient with their energy usage.
Amongst the suggestions he suggested that have been successfully introduced in Europe and North America are car-pool lanes on highways which can only be used by vehicles with two or more occupants, in order to encourage people to use shared vehicles.
Dr Al Ubaydli also called for more data to be made available by organisations – as well as members of civil society – to assess the energy usage and identify opportunities for optimising energy usage.
He also suggested introducing bus-only lanes to ensure public transport moves faster than general traffic, encouraging people to use buses and reduce their carbon footprint.
Another panellist, National Oil and Gas Holding Company (nogaholding) corporate finance and investor relations vice president Mohamed Al Shehab acknowledged that subsidised petrol prices and the transportation sector are some of the biggest contributors to Bahrain’s carbon footprint.
He also noted that expanding renewable energy production must go hand-in-hand with reducing energy usage in order to meet Bahrain’s sustainability goals.
“Bahrain is small and nimble, which gives us an edge when implementing national sustainability initiatives,” he added.
“Bahrain produces 40 million tonnes of emissions annually and directly or indirectly, 70 to 80 per cent of that is from nogaholding and the services, primarily gas, provided across the kingdom.”
“We are focusing on more energy efficiency within our operations and processes, and we are also embarking on feasibility studies around carbon capture technologies.”
He highlighted the evolution of nogaholding into a sustainable energy company because it is no longer possible for energy consumption patterns to continue as they have in the past.
The panel was moderated by deputy delegate of German industry and commerce for Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and Yemen Sherine Fakoussa and was preceded by opening remarks by Bahrain University president Dr Jawaher Shaheen Al Mudhaihki and German ambassador Clemens Hach.