RIYADH: In a significant stride toward sustainable progress, the Middle East and North Africa region has witnessed a surge of 292 gigawatts in prospective renewable energy capacity, marking a 400 percent year-over-year growth since 2022, according to a report by the Global Energy Monitor.
The report noted that this surge in capacity is substantial enough to meet the energy demands of countries like Saudi Arabia, Egypt, and Qatar combined, underlining the region’s growing commitment to clean and sustainable solutions.
The findings also revealed that over 60 percent of these projects are dedicated to green hydrogen production.
While this progress has bolstered operational renewables capacity in the region by 50 percent, the report pointed out that it still accounts for less than 25 percent of the capacity that South America has operationalized during the same period.
The study also underscored that, in order for the MENA region to achieve its goal of decarbonizing the electricity sector entirely by 2050, it will need to add 19 GW of wind and solar capacity each year until then.
Furthermore, the report highlighted the significant investments made by two MENA sovereign wealth funds-backed companies — ACWA Power, a key player in Saudi Arabia’s energy transition, and UAE government-owned renewable firm Masdar.
These companies are investing in at least 46 GW of prospective renewables capacity across more than 21 countries, a figure three times greater than their local investments of 14 GW.
ACWA Power, in particular, is actively engaged as an owner or operator in over 20.2 GW of prospective renewables capacity abroad, while its complete prospective renewables capacity within Saudi Arabia, regardless of developer, stands at 19.3 GW, the report noted.
Masdar has launched the Etihad 7 program with the goal of installing 20 GW of solar and wind capacity in Africa by 2035. Additionally, the government-owned firm intends to establish a specific climate fund from the UAE’s sovereign wealth reserves.
That said, according to the International Renewable Energy Agency, institutional investors, including sovereign wealth funds, play a vital role in providing the necessary capital for the energy transition.
Their contributions are instrumental in advancing the adoption of renewable energy sources, reducing carbon emissions, and advancing sustainability goals on a global scale, the report added.