Recently, a series of important outcomes were announced at the Eighth Ministerial Meeting of China-Arab States Cooperation Forum (CASCF). The memorandum of understanding (MOU) signed between Global Energy Interconnection Development and Cooperation Organization (GEIDCO) and the League of Arab States (LAS), and the joint proposal of China and Arab States to promote the construction of GEI are incorporated in three important outcome documents, namely, Beijing Declaration of the Eighth Ministerial Meeting of CASCF, 2018-2020 Action Plan of CASCF and Action Declaration for China and Arab States to Jointly Build “Belt and Road”. The development of GEI has been incorporated in China-Arab States cooperation framework and will facilitate China-Arab States cooperation for energy transition and upgrading.
The three important outcome documents approved and signed during the Eighth Ministerial Meeting of CASCF draws a clear, systematic and comprehensive blueprint for the development of Sino-Arab relations in the coming period. The Beijing Declaration elaborates on the connotation of the Sino-Arab strategic partnership and clarifies the direction of deepening Sino-Arab relations and collective cooperation, pointing out “…welcomes the MOU signed between the Secretariat of LAS and GEIDCO on May 13, 2017 in Beijing”. The Action Plan identified new cooperation programs and measures, covering nearly 20 fields such as economy and trade, industry, energy and culture, mentioning “…welcomes the MOU signed between the Secretariat of LAS and GEIDCO on May 13, 2017 in Beijing, to encourage joint planning and research on cross-border interconnection in energy field, and study the establishment of a joint working group in the field of electricity and renewable energy interconnection”. As the first cooperation document signed by China with regional organizations and countries for co-constructing the “Belt and Road”, the Action Declaration proposes “further strengthening cooperation in energy field, deepening cooperation between China and Arab countries in new energy and clean energy, and jointly promoting the building of GEI for green development.”
On September 26th, 2015, Chinese President Xi Jinping proposed discussions on establishing Global Energy Interconnection (or GEI), to facilitate efforts to meet global power demand with clean and green alternatives at the UN Sustainable Development Summit. This proposal is widely recognized and supported by international community. Two years after the launch of this proposal, a lot of progress and breakthroughs are made in global energy interconnection. GEI is aligned with “Belt and Road” initiative and United Nations 2030 Agenda, and 2018 CEM (Clean Energy Ministerial) meeting. GEI has entered a new stage of common action.
As an important part, GEI has been incorporated in the outcome document of the Eighth Ministerial Meeting of CASCF, which is of great significance for promoting China-Arab States energy cooperation and the sustainable development of Arab States, and accelerating the construction of the “Belt and Road” as well as the community of shared future for mankind.
Cross-border interconnection among Arab States has been established in a certain scale, yet there remains a large potential to develop energy interconnection among Arab countries since there is strong demand for electricity in surrounding countries of Europe and South Asia. Liu Zhenya, Chairman of GEIDCO, President of the China Electricity Council, and member of the Royal Swedish Academy of Engineering Sciences, proposes guideline for building energy interconnection in Arab states as: paying equal emphasis on domestic balance and electricity trading with neighbouring country and region; boosting solar and wind generation within the region, strengthening the interconnection within nations, advancing transnational and transcontinental grid connection, and creating major grid connection corridors from Arab states to Europe, to south Sahara Africa, and to South Asia, so as to achieve a new pattern of close interconnection within the region, efficient cross-regional allocation, and diversified energy sources to complement each other.
According to GEIDCO, based on energy resources allocation, there will be seven large scale solar energy bases in North Africa with capacity 1.1 TW(terra watt), and 10 large scale solar energy bases in western west Asia with capacity 2.1 TW. GEIDCO presents 13 key interconnection projects aimed at enabling clean energy integration across continents.
In June, Kamal Hassan Ali, Deputy Secretary General of the LAS, attended the Forum on Energy Interconnection & “Belt and Road” Development in Arab States, which jointly held by GEIDCO and the LAS. He expressed his hope to accelerate the development of clean energy and power interconnection in the Arab region with the joint guidance of GEIDCO and the LAS. He expected to see more large Chinese enterprises cooperating with Arab States to carry out project implementation.
GEIDCO has signed cooperative agreements with the LAS and the Regional Center for Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency (RCREEE). According to the agreement, GEIDCO and LAS will host global energy interconnection training session in Cairo, in October this year. Experts and senior engineers in energy industry from China, Europe, and Arab nations will give training to personnel of energy departments and energy companies from LAS nations. GEIDCO and RCREEE will cooperate on low carbon transformation, renewable energy development as well as regional and inter-regional energy interconnection to advance strategy research.