Barcelona – The Mediterranean Solar Plan (MSP) is a flagship UfM initiative aiming at promoting renewable energies and energy efficiency in UfM countries. One key target is the deployment of an additional 20 GW of renewable energy capacities by 2020. The Paris Declaration tasked the Secretariat “to explore the feasibility, creation and development of the MSP” and the 43 UfM Member States called upon it “to coordinate the development of the MSP Master Plan in close cooperation with the European Commission, the Member States and all the stakeholders”. The UfM Secretariat (UfMS) works actively on the implementation of this mandate. This requires building a shared medium term roadmap, supporting individual pilot projects and developing innovative financial tools.
In this context, the 1st Joint Committee of National Experts for the MSP took place on 5 and 6 July in Barcelona at the Palau de Pedralbes. The meeting was organized by the UfMS Energy Division and attended by representatives of Algeria, Austria, Croatia, Cyprus, Egypt, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Israel, Italy, Jordan, Malta, Morocco, the Palestinian Authority, Spain, Sweden, Tunisia, Turkey, and the United Kingdom. The European Commission, League of Arab States, European Investment Bank (EIB), Kreditanstalt fuer Wiederaufbau (KFW) and the Paving the Way to the MSP technical assistance project participated also. The new UFM Secretary General Youssef Amrani opened the meeting. Mr. Amrani underlined the importance of the MSP as a UfM flagship project, and expressed his personal willingness to support this important initiative.
The participants endorsed, with some additions, the content structure, time frame, goals and working methods related to the MSP Master Plan, which will be made up of five main building blocks: policy and regulatory frameworks; funding and support schemes; physical infrastructures; renewable energy as an industrial policy tool; know-how transfer and capacity development. A first in-depth exchange took place with regard to MSP-related financial issues. The EIB presented proposals for the creation of new financial instruments to support the MSP process, such as the incorporation of a project preparation facility to be funded in the framework of the EU’s Neighbourhood Investment Facility; the issuing of project bonds backed by public European Financial Institutions; and the possibility of creating a coordination fund, which could also serve a regional off-taker platform.
It is important to note that the MSP Master Plan will be a short, action-oriented political reference paper and not a new background study or detailed technical document. As such, it will build on a mutual understanding among member states of the main challenges to be overcome, and provide them with a common sense of purpose.
It will also outline the main measures to be taken, and the key elements to be put into place, to lay the ground for a large-scale and self-sustained roll-out of renewable energy and energy efficiency technologies in the Mediterranean basin. It should be finalised at the technical level by the end of 2012 and submitted to the UfM Energy Ministers by mid-2013.
The process will continue with the following meetings:
- September: 2nd Working Group Meeting on Financial Issues
- October: 1st Drafting Group Meeting for the Preparation of MSP Master Plan
- End November: 2nd Joint Committee Meeting of National Experts for the MSP Master Plan