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Together Today for a Sustainable Energy Future:
Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency (REEE) for the MENA Region - REMENA
Intercultural Studies

By Prof. Dr. sc. techn. Dirk Dahlhaus, Dr. Nour Mansour, Dr.-Ing. Marc Selig and Anke Aref, M.A.
M.Sc. Program REEE for the MENA Region (REMENA)
Dept. of Electrical Engineering/Computer Science, University of Kassel (UKAS), Germany

Why Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency

Alarming climate change forecasts published by IPCC (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change) in October 2018 have confirmed the urgency of finding sustainable energy solutions. Meeting the goals formally agreed upon in the Paris Climate Agreement require expertise for the world-wide implementation of energy solutions. In view of depleting resources of fossil and nuclear fuels, energy generation based on different forms of renewable energy (RE) is the only presently available way to respond to the everincreasing global energy demand on the long term. In addition, reduction of CO2 emissions to reduce global warming and climate change will only be feasible if energy resources are used more efficiently.

Main fields of research for grid integration of renewable energies are the application and optimization of storages, the reinforcement of the grid and control of flexible loads and power generators. In remote areas, “island solutions” with decentralized RE generation might meet the demand. Due to the climatic and geographic conditions a sustainable energy future must take into account the locally available RE from different sources within an international energy network.

Why for the Middle East and North Africa

The world solar energy map shows the enormous energy potential of the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) Region. A photovoltaic plant in North Africa can produce three times as much electricity as one with comparable investment in Germany. “In less than 6 hours the deserts of the world receive as much energy from the sun as mankind uses in a year,” says Dr. Knies from the DESERTEC foundation. One of the world’s largest solar energy plants is currently being built in Egypt close to Assuan, Benban with peak power of 1,615 GWp.

Energy corridors like the gas-based EuroAfrica Interconnector being implemented between Egypt through Cyprus to Greece and the TuNur project from Tunisia to Europe planned for the transportation of solar energy from the Sunbelt of North Africa to the European grid will contribute significantly to the decarbonization of the European grid. The Maroccan Solar plant Quarzazate using Concentrated Solar Power (CSP) for energy production will be the largest of its kind world-wide with 2 GWp by 2020. Wind farms located by the Red Sea in Egypt belong to the most efficient in the world due to the favourable wind conditions in this area. Hydro, biomass and biofuels may add to the energy portfolio. Furthermore, the exploitation of different geographic energy resources must be complemented by an effective demand side management.

Why Intercultural

Sustainable energy supply will remain one of the most crucial challenges for the Arab region in the coming decades and also a main focus in developing cooperation. Experience shows that there is a lack of energy experts being familiar not only with technological aspects, but also with the culture, language and politics of Arab and western European countries.

The implementation of suitable solutions in the energy sector happens in a highly complex framework of stakeholders. Tools are needed to sharpen the awareness for culturally bound cognition and to analyse intercultural mishaps. Developing associated skills will support match-making and induce win-win-situations wherever possible. Working together in intercultural teams may well turn out to be one of the core issues in the shaping of a sustainable tomorrow.

Career Opportunities

Nuclear energy phase out will boost investments into green initiatives and clean tech innovations. The REEE sector is expected to expand rapidly. Experts and project managers understanding the technical, environmental, regulatory, commercial and socio-cultural issues and constraints are highly sought for by companies and institutions. National and international organisations, ministries, local authorities, energy centres, non-governmental organisations and engineering companies need experts on postgraduate level for research and development and as consultants for strategic, feasibility and policy decisions in the sector.

Why Postgraduate Studies in the REMENA Master Course

If you are interested in a career in the field of REEE, the M.Sc. program “Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency for the MENA Region (REMENA)” will provide you with technical and managerial knowledge in the REEE sector and with intercultural competencies. Both aspects are equally important when taking up leadership positions in the aforementioned institutions and to work effectively in the framework of international cooperation. Constrained optimization approaches including machine learning for REEE are a core research focus for the more technically oriented students.

From summer term 2019 onwards, the REMENA Master program comprises 4 semesters and 120 ECTS. Students who start in summer 2019 in Kassel, will have the chance to spend their third semester in Sfax, Tunisia. They also may apply for ERASMUS+ funding for their study period at ENIS in Sfax. The program offers six study options. Students may choose between a double degree from UKAS and Cairo University (Egypt), and a double-degree from UKAS and the University of Monstir (Tunisia).

Institutions and companies in the renewable energy sector have combined their expertise to design an attractive master program to guarantee an excellent education for young experts to meet the challenges of sustainable energy supply.