Growth Opportunities in the Gulf Triggered by Innovations and Disruptions in Building Energy Efficiency

Big push in the region to develop both renewable energy and energy efficient policies, finds Frost & Sullivan’s Energy & Environment team

The Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) is at an interesting juncture as the economic and social initiatives driving the transition towards energy efficiency have never been stronger. High economic growth and diversification from oil and gas have significantly increased demand for electricity and energy. Furthermore, the region’s policies on fuel and electricity subsidies have led to wastefulness, and to inefficient buildings and industrial infrastructure, making these countries some of the most energy-intensive globally. The current economic growth path is unsustainable; hence, there is a push to develop both renewable energy and energy efficient policies to meet the increasing energy demand, to diversify the electricity mix and to reduce dependence on fossil fuels.

“With the penetration of information and communication technology, buildings are expected to become smarter, intelligent, environmentally friendly, and energy efficient,” said Sasidhar Chidanamarri, Associate Director, Energy & Environment Practice – MENASA, Frost & Sullivan.

In a recent White Paper titled “Innovations and Disruptions in Building Energy Efficiency in the GCC”, Frost & Sullivan highlights a number of technologies and services that will become more relevant as a result of greater adoption of renewable energies and energy efficient policies in the GCC as compared to other regions.

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Potential products that are likely to gain traction in the GCC energy efficiency industry are LED Lighting, Building Management Systems, District Cooling, Building Insulation, Variable Frequency Drives, Energy Recovery Devices, Trigeneration Plant Systems, Solar Thermal Air Conditioning, Non-Electric Chillers, Low-Emissivity Glass, and Building Integrated Photovoltaics. Besides the aforementioned products, the services market such as Energy Performance Contracting is also expected to gain significant opportunities in the GCC.

Analysis by Frost & Sullivan shows that the market for Energy Performance Contracting in the UAE was estimated to be USD 80-100 million in 2015 and is expected to have a CAGR of 15-17 per cent in the next four to five years.

If adopted, the energy efficiency policies will provide a financial boost to governments as there is an opportunity cost associated with reducing wasteful consumption of oil/electricity. They will also eliminate the need for massive investments in power generation. Reforms related to fuel and electricity tariffs by GCC governments are also improving prospects for energy and environment technologies, besides improving the financial situation in an era marked by falling revenues due to low oil prices. The market for energy efficiency products and solutions as well as energy service companies are bound to grow, driven by government initiatives and a shift in opinion and attitude towards viewing energy expenditure as a strategic cost centre.

“With buildings becoming fully integrated and networked using wireless, web-based automation systems, owners seek to maximise the real benefits,” noted Sasidhar. “Hence, energy management will lead to improvements in operational efficiency, optimisation of energy, and demand management.”

The large potential of this market can be gauged by the burgeoning real estate development activity and the need to cut energy consumption across commercial, residential, and government infrastructural segments.