The energy systems in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region are under considerable pressure from a rapid increase in energy demand due to a growing population, changing consumer behaviour, increasing urbanisation, the development of energy-intensive industries and the development of energy-intensive seawater desalination capacities.
Although the economic potential of renewable energies (solar and wind) is immense compared to current and expected future demand, and ambitious renewable energy targets have been set in several MENA countries, fossil fuels remain the dominant energy source in almost all countries of the region today.
Against this background, the aim of this study was to provide a basis for the development of strategies for a transition to a renewable energy based energy system in the MENA countries. To achieve this goal, a phase model was developed that divides the transformation process into a series of successive phases ("Take-off Renewables", "System integration", "Power-to-Gas/Fuels", "Towards 100% Renewables"). The phases are described by the main elements and processes that shape each phase and qualitative differences between the phases are identified. A phase model thus provides an overview of a complex transformation process. It provides an overarching vision for the transformation and facilitates the early development of consistent policy strategies and policy instruments according to the needs of the different phases. Existing phase models for Germany were used to develop the phase model for the transformation of the energy system in MENA countries. These were supplemented by findings from "Transitions" research, and further adapted to integrate the differences between the MENA countries and Germany.
The developed phase model was applied to Jordan's energy system for test purposes and illustration.