JEDDAH: ARAB NEWS
Published — Thursday 4 July 2013
Last update 4 July 2013 5:09 am
Gulf countries are increasingly turning their focus toward clean renewable sources of energy for their power generation, with solar energy set to emerge as one of the region’s main sources of energy by 2017. Already solar power installation projects worth approximately $ 155 billion are in the pipeline with capabilities to generate more than 84 GW of power.
The Gulf countries will be addressing some of the main challenges related to the deployment of energy projects in desert terrain at a high-level industry summit in Dubai later this year.
The summit, called GulfSol 2013, will make its debut at Dubai International Exhibition Center from Sept. 3-5, and will feature government and private sector companies discussing ways of effective deployment of solar projects while also showcasing some of the latest international technologies.
Top agenda at the summit includes discussions on feasibility of solar power projects in remote areas, the wide range of unrealized opportunities in the region for international companies and enforceable regulatory and policy frameworks for implementation of solar projects.
The event is expected to be attended by more than 5,000 participants from the region and around the world and will be accompanied by interactive workshops by industry leaders.
The event assumes added significance given that Abu Dhabi has set a goal of generating 7 percent of its electricity from renewable sources by 2020 and the state-owned renewable energy company, Masdar, has announced that it will invest up to AED 6 billion in alternative energy schemes alongside the UK’s Green Investment Bank (GIB).
“It is apparent that while the solar industry in other areas is struggling, right across MENA, the opportunities are there for companies to get themselves involved with a wealth of opportunities that are presenting themselves. Right now, nothing is hotter for solar than the Middle East,” said Derek Burston, exhibition manager of GulfSol 2013.
“To meet the goals that the GCC have set themselves means expertise will be needed from the international solar power industry to deal with the difficulties involved in construction in desert terrain, including dust, high winds and transmission requirements,” he added.
Saudi Arabia, the world’s largest oil producer, is even more ambitious.
The Saudi government hopes to just about double its installed electricity capacity by building 54 GW of renewable energy (as well as 17.6 GW of nuclear power) by 2032, of which 41 GW will obtained from the sun.
Qatar is also turning to renewables, with a plan on the table to get 10 percent of the electricity and energy used in water desalination from solar energy by 2018.
Kuwait too has ambitions to derive 10 percent of its power requirements from renewable energy sources by 2020.