Bringing green energy markets to MENA: an interview with Jan Haizmann

Pınar Kılavuzlu
May 18, 2024

Bringing Green Energy Markets to MENA: An Interview with Jan Haizmann

On April 6, 2024, Dr. Jan Haizmann, CEO of the Zero Emissions Traders Alliance (ZETA), shared insights about his organization's vision for fostering clean energy markets in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region. An experienced attorney with extensive expertise in energy trading, Haizmann recently relocated to Dubai to lead ZETA, an independent organization committed to creating transparent markets for low-carbon and renewable energy.

Full interview can be found here.

Here are the highlights of his conversation with Alan P. Mammoser:

The Origins and Mission of ZETA

The Zero Emissions Traders Alliance (ZETA) is an initiative of Dii Desert Energy, a think tank dedicated to advocating for clean energy systems in MENA. Though affiliated with Dii, ZETA operates independently, with its own membership and finances. Its mission is clear: to bring transparent energy markets to the GCC region, enabling low-carbon and renewable energy trading while incentivizing investments through comprehensive market frameworks.

Challenges and Opportunities in the GCC Region

Currently, the GCC countries lack transparent electricity and carbon markets, and green certificates are not yet recognized or traded. Haizmann emphasizes that creating energy and carbon markets is essential for the region to meet its carbon neutrality targets. Transparent price discovery and hedging mechanisms will encourage investment and ensure long-term financial stability.

The Critical Role of Commodity Trading

The GCC region is a leader in sustainable power generation. However, long-term off-take agreements at fixed prices pose commercial risks that can be mitigated only through a well-functioning trading market. Haizmann underlines that commodity markets provide transparent pricing and hedging options, offering a stable path to scale up sustainable energy projects. Without these mechanisms, renewable energy investments risk financial instability.

The Vision of a Clean Energy Hub

ZETA is creating a Clean Energy Hub that will act as a market platform for trading sustainable molecules and electrons. This hub will establish transparent pricing for green hydrogen and other renewable energy commodities. By following successful models like the HyExchange in the Netherlands and HyBeX in Belgium, ZETA aims to set a price benchmark for green hydrogen and related sustainable fuels, paving the way for efficient and trustworthy trading.

Standardizing Contracts for Green Trading

ZETA will assist in developing the necessary regulatory frameworks and transaction tools for low-carbon and renewable energy trading. The organization will work towards creating standardized contracts and guarantee-of-origin certificates to ensure transparent, consistent trading of green hydrogen and other renewable energy commodities.

Building a Strong Trading Platform

Bringing together producers, exchanges, and energy value chain participants, ZETA seeks to establish an effective OTC market for trading green certificates. The organization will also encourage regional cooperation, creating standardized products that can be traded across borders and help establish a strong market for zero-emission commodities and certificates.

Growth Strategy and Global Vision

Currently focused on expanding its membership base, ZETA is working with companies willing to invest in green energy markets. Although currently concentrating on MENA, ZETA envisions global reach from its Dubai headquarters, aiming to establish the region as a leading hub for zero-emission industrial production and the export of green hydrogen to Europe.

Next Steps

ZETA has already started organizing educational workshops highlighting the value of transparent energy markets. Their upcoming Clean Energy Hub Workshop in Abu Dhabi will dive into the technical aspects of market platforms, furthering the organization's vision for creating vibrant energy markets in the region.

Dr. Haizmann’s insights shed light on ZETA’s commitment to transforming the energy markets in MENA by building strong regional partnerships. By offering a transparent market framework, ZETA aims to establish the GCC region as a global hub for zero-emission energy trading.

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Pınar Kılavuzlu
Zero Emissions Traders Alliance