Low-Cost Renewables Reshaping Middle East

Low-Cost Renewables Reshaping Middle EastLow-Cost Renewables Reshaping Middle East

Various countries in the world’s most oil-dependent region, the Middle East, have started to look above ground for generating energy to diversify away from their primary below-ground energy source.

Saudi Arabia, the UAE and Oman, to name a few, have set ambitious goals to boost the construction of clean energy facilities and the use of renewables in their energy mix in the long run, Oil Price reported.

As global solar and wind costs continue to drop and make those energy solutions increasingly competitive, the Middle East is expected to continue to move ahead with renewable projects this year, an Emirati outlet The National reported.

Globally, the cost of electricity from solar, which is now nearly a quarter of what it was in 2009, is expected to slide by another 66% by 2040, Bloomberg New Energy Finance said in a report in June 2017.

Offshore wind costs are seen dropping by 71%, while onshore wind costs are expected to decline by 47% by 2040.

Saudi Arabia has its National Renewable Energy Program, aiming to boost the share of renewables in the energy mix and targeting the generation of 3.45 gigawatts of renewable energy by 2020, which would represent around 4% of generation capacity. By 2023, the Saudi target is 9.5 GW, which would be 10% of generation capacity.

The Saudi renewables program is directly supporting the 2030 Vision to overhaul its economy and diversify from oil. Ironically, the Saudis expect to fund part of the 2030 Vision plan with the proceeds they expect to reap from the initial public offering of oil giant Aramco, currently slated for the second half of 2018.

The UAE plans to invest $163 billion in renewables and hopes to have by 2050 a total 44% of energy needs provided by renewables, 38% by gas, 12% from cleaner fossil fuel and 6% from nuclear energy.

Oman’s National Energy Strategy to 2040 recommends that some 10% of Oman’s generation mix should come from renewable energy sources—primarily onshore wind and solar—by 2025.

“Saudi Arabia is the sort of later entrant to this reality but it’s a big volume and this will be the most exciting,” Paddy Padmanathan, chief executive at Riyadh-based power and water developer Acwa Power, said.

“Dubai will continue to accelerate its deployment, Abu Dhabi will get into the act, you see that Jordan is doing more. Oman is a new entrant coming in 2018 into renewables,” he added.


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