As the first anniversary of the US-brokered Abraham Accords nears, the UAE and Bahrain are continuing to expand bilateral relations with Israel with huge collaborations in the field of green technology, an expert told Al Arabiya English.
The deals are expected to surpass $500 million over the next five years, according to Asher Fredman, CEO of Gulf-Israel Green Ventures. “And that is a conservative estimate,” he said.
The UAE, said Fredman, has made huge strides in the green energy space, with the realization and implementation of some of the world’s most advanced green technologies.
The country has already developed two of the world’s largest solar plants and will soon break ground on a third. Abu Dhabi is home to the Middle East’s first facility for carbon capture and storage, and to Masdar City, an international pioneer in sustainable urban living.
“Israel is incredibly strong on the innovation front and out-of-the-box thinking and the UAE is also seeking to create this huge innovation ecosystem. The UAE in particular has great strengths in taking innovative ideas and making them into a reality.
“Together, these countries will absolutely be a force to be reckoned with.”
According to the latest Global Cleantech Innovation Index, Israel ranked second in the world in emerging cleantech innovation, and sixth in cleantech overall.
Fredman said investments to materialize over the coming years will include large-scale projects by Israeli companies in areas such as water treatment and reuse, and precision irrigation. There will, he said, also be “significant” investments in joint ventures between Israeli startups and major Emirati entities and companies to pursue projects both in the UAE and other GCC countries.
He said we can also expect to see partnerships in fields such as renewable energy, off-grid electricity and sustainable agriculture.
‘A match made in heaven’
Given that both Israeli and Emirati companies are highly active in sustainability-related projects around the world, their presence in first world nations and developing regions are likely to evolve over the next two to three years, said Fredman.
“The UAE has several strategies in water and food security and in renewable energies,” he said. “Many companies in the UAE are now looking to take the expertise in Israel and implement it in the Emirates. For example, construction companies are looking to broker deals in green materials from Israel – which is suitable for UAE’s arid climate – and implement them here.”
“I have had visits to Masdar City and there is a lot of interest in potential Israeli companies setting up shop and pilot schemes there. There will also be large-scale projects in water recycling – which will be one of the first projects in the green technology space – and in making buildings more energy efficient as well as a focus on low carbon mobility.”
Both the UAE and Israel have a similar vision when it comes to ambitious green technology goals, said Fredman.
For example, the UAE aims to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions by 23.5 percent and its energy consumption by 40 percent by 2030, he said. It plans to increase waste treatment to 85 percent by 2035, with 32 percent water savings by the end of the decade.
Israel has also set far-reaching environmental goals, including aims to source 33 percent of its energy from renewable sources by 2030. Israel’s Environmental Protection Ministry recently proposed the goal of reducing Israel’s greenhouse gas emissions by 80-85 percent by 2050.
“We are talking a lot of potential or large deals which meet the key goals with both countries- both countries are dealing with arid temperatures, water shortages and both want to be centers or hubs for green innovations,” said Fredman.
“Both countries not only need to focus on green innovation because of their respective arid climates, but also because they both want to become hubs of green innovation for rest of world.”
Signed in September 2020, the Abraham Accords led to formal ties between the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Israel and declared the importance and supremacy of human dignity, freedom and religious freedom.
The Accords became the first peace agreement between an Arab country and Israel in more than 25 years, and has led to a number of bilateral deals between Middle Eastern countries. Fredman said the area of green technology is expected to be one of the strongest partnerships between the countries.
Over the next decade, as renewable energy becomes a growing focus, the UAE and Israel could become the center of green innovations, said Fredman.
“If you combine Israeli innovation and the Emirati vision which enables them to turn these ideas in reality - then that’s a match made in heaven.”