According to Ernst & Young's 2012 Middle East and North Africa (MENA) Cleantech Survey Report, Saudi Arabia, UAE, Qatar and Jordan are the most attractive markets for clean technologies.
Saudi Arabia, UAE and Qatar are at the top of the attractive markets list, according to the respondents, due to their government plans, budgets and long-term strategies.
In addition, these countries have invested in large initiatives such as King Abdullah City for Atomic and Renewable Energy (KACARE), Masdar and the 'Green' FIFA World Cup 2022.
Although Jordan has limited financial resources, a new law was issued on renewable energy, which may help create new jobs.
The survey identified four reasons of cleantech growth across the MENA region: government policy, cost of the renewable energy, desire to reduce the use of fossil fuels and increased business efficiency.
Nimer AbuAli, MENA head of Cleantech, Ernst & Young said: "We see growing confidence in MENA cleantech investments this year. The respondents were more optimistic than last year, mainly due to government support and various initiatives in the different countries in MENA. We expect this trend to continue as more cleantech projects are realised and more we see the immense benefits of renewable energy."
79% of regional respondents expect an increase in cleantech investments in the region over the next five years. 94% of these respondents were more optimistic about cleantech investments increasing in the GCC, compared with 73% in North Africa and 67% in the Levant.
Almost one-third of the respondents in MENA preferred solar energy as the number one potential source of renewable energy irrespective of territory. In a change from last year's results, respondents selected energy efficiency as the second potential growth area across the region, with slight changes from one territory to another, followed by water and green buildings.
A majority of the respondents (75%) cited Photovoltaic (PV) as the main solar technology for the MENA region followed by just 19% that named Concentrating Solar Power (CSP). Respondents justified their selection mainly by the price per watt compared with the other technologies.
"We see a change in the contribution of solar, water and energy efficiency technology to per capita consumption in the region as the costs for each technology deployment is declining. For the GCC, energy efficiency and green buildings have become hot topics due to climatic conditions and high electricity consumption," added Nimer.
Insufficient government support was listed as the main barrier to renewable energy investments across all countries in the MENA region.
"The absence of clear regulation and policy framework continues to discourage investors and the private sector from investments in cleantech and these could be areas that governments can focus on in the coming months," said Nimer.