When people think of the Middle East, a lot of things would come to mind: oil, the desert, just to name a few. However, renewable energy would not be the first thing that comes to everyone’s mind. However, that is about to change.
From Oil and Gas to Renewable Energy
Traditionally, the Middle East has been one of the global powerhouses for oil and natural gas.
However, there is increasing pressure to toughen the measures against climate change and reduce greenhouse gas emissions. What makes matters even worse is that the oil prices have been on a steady decline since 2014. The need for change has never been so pressing.
Solar energy, of all the renewables, is booming in the region
The rise of photovoltaic technology has paved a new path for the Middle East. And the region has capitalized on its abundant amount of solar irradiance.
According to the study conducted by EnergyTrend of TrendForce, by the end of 2017, the cumulative installed PV capacity in the Middle East was 1.8 GW.
By the first half of 2019, the cumulative installed PV capacity has exceeded the 4 GW threshold.
The overall growth rate has reached 164%, which propelled the solar power in the Middle East to the forefront of global attention.
The UAE, The Rising Star of Renewables in the Middle East
The United Arab Emirates has been striving for energy transition and it has stellar results to show for:
- The country has established the very first carbon-neutral zero waste city, Masdar City, in the Middle East in 2006.
- From 2008 onward, the UAE is the host of the annual World Future Energy Summit.
- In 2019, the country has broken the record of the installed PV capacity in a single quarter (2019Q2) in the region with a record high of 1.17 GW.
- The United Arab Emirates grew its renewable energy portfolio by more than 400% in the last 10 years
However, the chief executive of Abu Dhabi National Oil Co (“ADNOC”) Sultan al-Jaber is not content with the emirates’ past glory. He has set his eyes on even bigger goals:
- The UAE aims to double its already impressive renewable energy portfolio
- The carbon capture utilization and storage program will be increased by 500%, which is equivalent to securing the same amount of C02 as 5 million acres of forest.
- Greenhouse gas intensity will be reduced by an additional 25%.
The UAE Is Making Not Only Itself but Also the World Greener
The Abu Dhabi Fund for Development (ADFD), an organization that aims to help developing countries to achieve sustainable socio-economic growth, has announced that it will provide $105 million worth of loans to finance eight renewable energy projects around the globe, such as:
- Burkina Faso: $5.5 million worth of loans for a solar installation of 3 MW
- Chad: $15 million for a renewable energy facility of 6 MW
The Caribbean countries
- Antigua and Barbuda: a $15 million loan for a solar-wind hybrid power plant with the capacity of 8 MW
- Saint Lucia: $15 million for a solar power plant of 10 MW
- Saint Vincent and the Grenadines: $10 million for a solar array of 7 MW
- The Maldives: $14 million for a waste management facility that converts waste into electricity
- Nepal: $10 million for 20 biogas plants