Renewable energy investment to reach $35 billion
The Gulf Cooperation Council states, which have huge proven crude oil reserves, have set out on an altruistic journey to develop renewable energy sources to better serve the planet.
After the COP21 conference held in Paris in 2015, the nations have been rolling out strategies to fight climate change and reduce their carbon footprint.
They sent large delegations to COP22 at Marrakesh last year and have made pledges to increase green investments in their countries.
According to IRENA, the region is set to attract $35 billion worth of renewable energy investments every year by 2020.
Multinational conglomerate Siemens revealed in December that the Middle East will add 66 per cent power generation capacity by 2030 and the share of renewables in the region’s energy mix is set to increase significantly.
The UAE has pledged to increase clean energy’s share of the national energy mix from 0.2 per cent in 2014 to 24 per cent by 2021.
Dubai has launched a $27.2bn Dubai Clean Energy Strategy 2050, which aims to provide seven per cent of the emirate’s energy from sustainable sources by 2020, raising that to 25 per cent by 2030 and 75 per cent by 2050.
The emirate has also launched the Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum Solar Park, which is billed as the largest single-site solar energy project in the world. The first phase of the proposed 1,000 MW park was completed in 2013 and the second phase is expected to be concluded in April 2017. The total capacity of the entire project is planned to reach 5,000 MW when it goes fully operational in 2030.
Additionally, Dubai has plans to have solar panels on all rooftops in the emirate by 2030.
Furthermore, the country has also made progress in building a nuclear power plant to meet the growing energy demand. Construction of the first reactor unit in the Barakah plant has already been completed and is set to start partial operation in 2017.
When all four units completed in 2020, the plant is expected to provide nearly a quarter of the nation’s electricity needs and save up to 12 million tons of greenhouse gas emissions each year.
Similarly, other nations in the region have also launched initiatives in the clean energy sector.
Qatar has announced its plans to set up 1,800 MW solar power capacity by 2020 and to meet 20 per cent of its electricity needs from solar energy by 2030.
Saudi Arabia has announced its renewable energy plans in its ambitious Vision 2030, launched last year. The kingdom aims to deliver 9.5 GW of solar power by 2030. Late last year, Saudi Aramco and Siemens signed several agreements to collaborate in the fields of renewable energy, research and development, as well as digitalization in the oil and gas industry.
In addition to sustainable resources, the region has also deployed energy-saving infrastructure – from strict green building codes to world-class light rail and metro systems.