RIYADH: Electricity demand is set for a dramatic rise in the Middle East as major reconstruction works take place across the region, according to Majeed Al-Moneef, chairman of the Saudi Association of Energy Economics.
In an interview with MEED, Al-Moneef said the expansion of industrial activities could also drive the need for greater electricity production.
“There will be growing demand for electricity in many countries including in Iraq, Syria and Libya, where major reconstruction efforts are expected to take place, along with expanding industrial activities in other jurisdictions,” said Al-Moneef.
The SAEE chairman further noted that electricity generation in the region should be ramped up, and should also make sure that power is being used in an efficient manner.
Al-Moneef, who is also chairman of the International Advisory Committee of Riyadh-based King Abdullah Petroleum Studies and Research Center, added that Saudi Arabia is on a path to a sustainable future, as the Kingdom is increasing its renewable energy production capacity.
He went on to say the Kingdom will make solar and wind sources account for half of the total electricity production capacity by 2030.
“We are committed to reaching net-zero carbon emissions by 2060, we will be increasing our renewable energy capacity dramatically to meet that objective. We will also tap carbon capture technologies to support and increase the capacity of our oil- or gas-fired power stations,” he added.
According to Al-Moneef, geopolitical tensions such as the ongoing Ukraine conflict and the COVID-19 pandemic contributed to delaying the energy transition.
He further pointed out that energy transition efforts are not posing any threat to the region’s conventional energy suppliers and exporters.
“These are new additions to the energy mix… we need more renewables, hydrogen and nuclear, we need more oil and gas,” added Al-Moneef.
Earlier in January, during the World Economic Forum in Davos, Executive Director of the International Energy Agency Fatih Birol said the world is witnessing the biggest energy crisis ever recorded in history, especially after Russia’s Ukraine invasion.
According to Birol, the current concerns have given a big boost to clean energy development, and added that security concerns are driving the advancements which are happening in the renewables sector.