Hydrocarbon rich countries in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region have been slow to progress toward the penetration and scaling up of renewables. In addition to significant disincentives posed by general barriers to renewables deployment, countries in this region also face factors specific to their economic and political economy contexts. Renewables have been ‘locked out’ of many resource rich MENA energy systems as a result of plentiful low priced hydrocarbon fuels and the simultaneous presence of risk and uncertainties, weak institutions and inadequate grid infrastructure.

Given these distinctive characteristics, this chapter argues that the design of longer-term policies to promote renewables should carefully consider the balance of market and government roles in providing investment incentives for renewables, while simultaneously taking into account the barriers to renewables investment that are prevalent in these countries.