The Fourth Regional Power Trade Forum 2015, the leading platform dedicated for facilitate power trade opportunities between the regional markets, opened Thursday, 17 December 2015 by HE Dr. Mattar Al-Niyadi – Chairman of the Board, GCC Interconnection Authority (GCCIA), the organising body of the annual event. First held in December 2010, the event aims at initiating a GCC power market to implement actual steps forward in establishing the interconnection.
The attendees reviewed the challenges facing the interconnection, to put forward solutions and create a clear roadmap to start energy trade between the six GCC states. These challenges were identified as the absence of visibility and awareness of electricity costs and the benefits that can be achieved by power trading; energy price distortion due to varying levels of subsidies in GCC countries; differences in national energy policies; differences in local regulations towards crossborder power trading; differences in national power sector structure; and low number of market participants.
HE Dr. Mattar Al-Niyadi delivered the opening remarks, followed by an introduction about Effect of Subsidies on Power Trade by Eng. Ahmed Ali Al-Ebrahim- CEO, GCCIA. In his remarks, Dr. Al-Niyadi said: “Our aim is always to increase energy trade utilization in the region. We have succeeded in trading energy for stability and support, and we tend to start exchanging energy for over economic gains. This could lead us for further expansion to other markets in the future.”
“We thank all the participating members to join us in Abu Dhabi for the Fourth Regional Power Trade Forum 2015 that proved to be a key event for major development in the energy sector in the future. We have discussed topics related to renewable energy, mainly solar, being the major focus for almost all regional markets,” added Dr. Al-Niyadi.
In turn, Eng. Ahmed Ali Al-Ebrahim said: “Optimal energy exchanges between the Member States through the GCC interconnection leads to a reduction of operation and maintenance costs. The value of the energy exchanges revenues are massive.”
“In order to achieve the goal of economic energy exchanges, we should set a coordination plan of power production, and development of a electricity market through GCCIA. Succeeding in this could put the region on a higher global level in the energy sector, and will give us the opportunity to explore economic benefits from energy trade in the future,” added Eng. Al-Ebrahim.
The event included three sessions, the first kicked off with a topic about World Energy Transition by Mr. Jomar Eldoy – Managing Director, Marketplace Co, followed by a topic discussion entitled ‘Worldwide Experience in dealing with Subsidies’ by Maria Vagliasindi – Program Leader for GCC Countries (SD Practice Group); The World Bank, and Sultan Bayk Khukaev; US and European Experience in dealing with subsidies by Dr. Jonathan Jacobs – Managing Consultant, PA Consultants; and Pierre Bernard – Managing Partner, Bernard Energy Advocacy (BEA).
The second Session about ‘GCC Plan to deal with Fuel Subsidies’ wwitnessed participation of panelists such as HE Dr. Abdullah Al-Shehri – Governor, Electricity & Cogeneration Regulatory Authority (ECRA), Saudi Arabia; Mr. Hassan Taqi – Director of Economic and Financial Affairs, Authority for Electricity Regulation (Oman); and Mr. Dennis Colenutt – Affiliated Consultant, NERA Consultants.
The third Session, entitled Pricing in light of subsidies & impact on Electricity Markets, kicked off around midday with participation of Mr. Pierre-Louis Brenac – Managing Partner, SIA Partners, Tan Liang Chang – Vice President, EMC-Singapore, and Dr. Sandrine Wachon – Head of International Business Development, EPEX Spot.
The Regional Power Trade Forum 2015 also included briefing on the Pilot Project & Progress Report, as it looked into the potential power trade opportunities during winter of 2016. The fourth edition discussed the way forward to promote power trade in the GCC countries, with clear roadmap on the process and application. According to HE Dr. Al Neyadi, the focus of the forum in the coming years could be reaching out to other markets to explore potential power trade collaboration. He concluded that this could be done following actual implementation for power trade across the GCC.