French giant Engie ready to join the renewables rush in GCC

French energy giant Engie is ready to launch a renewed bid to join the rush for renewables across the GCC.

Globally, Engie had 26.9GW of renewable installed capacity at 100 percent at the end of 2019. While between 2019 and 2021, the group announced plans to build an additional 3GW of renewable capacity per year around the globe.

However, Sébastien Arbola, executive vice president in charge of thermal generation, energy supply activities and hydrogen and CEO of the business unit in charge of the Middle East, South & Central Asia, Turkey and Africa, told Arabian Business the company had previously found it “difficult” to compete in the regional GCC renewables market.

For almost 30 years, Engie has had a presence in the Middle East, South & Central Asia, Turkey and Africa region. In the Middle East, it is the regional leading independent power and water producer with a gross capacity of 30 gigawatts of power and 5.5 million cubed metres per day of water production, serving over 40 million people daily with power and 10 million with potable water from desalination.

However, Arbola admitted they “trailed a little bit behind the competition” when it comes to renewables.

He said: “It’s difficult for Engie to be successful I would say because of the competitive field and the return that was requested to win the work. It went below 10 percent and more around 7 or 8 percent and that’s difficult for us to basically match.”

The UAE is expected to provide 50 percent of power needs from renewable sources by 2050 due to nuclear and solar power contributions, while the leadership in Saudi Arabia has previously they intend to invest up to $50 billion in the renewable energy sector by 2023 as part of its strategy to reduce oil dependency and diversify its energy mix.

“I don’t think it’s a difficulty for the market itself, because it’s very open and transparent and there’s a very clear framework, I think it’s a difficulty for Engie in this region, because we’ve been super successful elsewhere in other parts of the world. Africa and India have both been successful, but in the GCC, as a sweet spot for us with our other businesses, we have trailed a little bit behind the competition and we are looking at options where we can catch-up,” he said.

“It’s up to us to be more competitive and try to find more creativity and more innovation in those big tender offers, try to win those,” he added.




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