Launch of the Working Groups by the Industry Advisory Board of MED-GEM Network
On February 7, 2023, the MED-GEM Network conducted a virtual meeting marking the initiation of working groups by its Industry Advisory Board (IAB). With the participation of 44 members, including DG NEAR, National Focal Points (NFPs), Country Correspondents (CCs), and IAB members, the meeting also welcomed regional partners such as UNIDO, RCREEE, Dii, IRENA, and the UfM. Under the guidance of Frank Wouters, Director of MED-GEM, the structure of the working groups was presented, emphasizing the themes of infrastructure, skills, and local value creation. These themes were collectively agreed upon during the inaugural IAB committee meeting on December 20, 2023, in Brussels.
Created to provide professional advice to policymakers, the Industry Advisory Board (IAB) of MED-GEM, a project funded by the European Union, brings together leading industrial stakeholders in the GEM sectors. It offers recommendations for activities along the Renewable Energy and Green Hydrogen value chain and the development of Green Electrons and Molecules (GEM) in the Southern Mediterranean region. Structured around four thematic components, the project addresses policy, technology, infrastructure, and finance. The first inaugural meeting of the IAB identified four priority themes: local value creation, certification, jobs and skills, and infrastructure. Specific working groups were formed to address these priorities between the bi-annual IAB meetings. These groups delved into challenges, opportunities, and actions, laying the foundation for ongoing collaboration to ensure sustainable growth of the GEM industry in the region.
The kick-off session on February 7, 2024, focused on the missions, structures, and processes of the working groups, as well as the coordination of information, milestones, and current initiatives related to renewable energies and green hydrogen. Detailed discussions included the presentation of the working groups' objectives, with proposed co-chairs for each domain. Discussions also took place on basic survey models, with a call for rapid collaboration to collect information and identify data gaps before the next working group meeting scheduled for the last week of February 2024.
Presentations by regional partners enriched the meeting, highlighting key initiatives in energy transition and the promotion of green hydrogen in the Mediterranean region.
At the MED-GEM Network meeting, UNIDO, represented by Pablo Navacerrada Busquets, highlighted its dynamic initiatives in the MENA region, focusing on countries such as Morocco, Tunisia, and Egypt. The presentation explored hydrogen technologies, providing comprehensive support for policies, regulations, standards, and skills necessary to promote this green energy source. Additionally, UNIDO shared a sophisticated methodology to identify skills gaps in the region, a crucial element for the success of hydrogen-related initiatives.
2. Regional Center for Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency (RCREEE)
RCREEE, represented by Eng. Khalid Salmi and Maged Mahmoud, centered its presentation on capacity development and energy policy formulation in the MENA region. The "MENALINKS" project was at the heart of discussions, with an in-depth exploration of hydrogen's impact on the energy network. Furthermore, RCREEE detailed its efforts to unlock the green hydrogen gas market, involving training, evaluation of government roadmaps, and the establishment of crucial guidelines to guide future actions.
Cornelius Matthes, CEO of Dii Desert Energy, presented the initiative's 15 years of engagement in the region. Emphasizing various emission technologies, the presentation unveiled a comprehensive study on bulk storage and transport options for green hydrogen in the Mediterranean. Dii highlighted its commitment to localization, job creation, and economic studies to foster a sustainable energy transition.
IRENA, represented by Abdullah Abu Ali and Tarig Ahmed, highlighted the importance of renewable energy employment and provided an overview of the regional energy transition in North Africa. The annual review of renewable energy and jobs was presented, emphasizing efforts in infrastructure, energy scenarios, financing, and policy analysis to ensure a successful energy transition.
GIZ, represented by Toufic Rizkallah, MED-GEM's network coordinator, focused its presentation on skills development, capacity building, infrastructure, and local value creation. GIZ stood out for its active involvement in work on green hydrogen and Power-to-X (PtX) through the International PtX Hub, offering specific training, tailor-made training programs, and self-guided online courses to enhance expertise in these crucial areas.
6. UFM and its Energy Platforms
The Union for the Mediterranean (UFM), presented by Mohammed Elhusseiny highlighted UFM's particular interest in hydrogen-related projects, anticipating future collaborations to strengthen the energy transition in the Mediterranean region.
The meeting concluded with an emphasis on the importance of regional cooperation in promoting green electricity and molecules in the Mediterranean region. Reminders were issued regarding the response to surveys and the preparation of interim reports by June 2024, marking the beginning of a robust collaboration to achieve the goals of the MED-GEM Network.