Easy and smooth supply of energy supplies is the mantra of each and every government around the globe. Energy gears the pace of development. It guarantees the survival of humanity on this planet. It protects the dreams of socio-economic prosperity, stability and sustainability. It provides essential inputs of industrial productivity, generation of employment, reduction of poverty and above all promotes qualitative life and renewable/alternative energy is a value-addition.
Due to deteriorating law and order situation, conflicting geo-politics realties and the last but not the least complicated geo-strategic scenarios in many crucial parts of the world, the burning issue of energy security is at stake and energy strategic landscape is on the change all the times. Old resources of energy are decreasing and reaching at critical stage and are giving way to new mix of energy. New technologies are being introduced to make it fruitful and effective.
Continued upward trends in the prices of oil and gas commodities, depletion of strategic reservoirs of energy in many countries and low investments in the exploration of new energy fields, all are supposed to be responsible for the current energy uncertainties in the world markets. Moreover, weak economies, high debts, sky-rocketing inflation and above all dim prospects of global economy revival are producing serious dints in the conventional energy’s budgets and policies of the countries around the world. Paradigm shift has already been made its roots and succeeded to change the strategic landscape of conventional energy resources and supplies around the globe especially in the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) and particularly in the United Arab Emirate (UAE).
Looming threat of climate change and cost-effect analysis of the renewable/alternative energy resources has forced all the stakeholders/countries to initiate sincere and concrete coordinated efforts to institutionalization of green energy policies and projects at large. Now from Greek to Great Britain, Poland to Pakistan and UAE to Saudi Arabia all are diverting their financial resources in the development of renewable/alternative green energies.
The Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) comprising of six countries, Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Kuwait, Oman, Bahrain and Qatar are making every possible effort to gradually switch from hydrocarbon conventional resources and technologies to green clean renewable/alternative energy resources. Prospects are very healthy and bright for the cluster of renewable/alternative energy resources in the region. United Arab Emirates being the second largest economy of the region having leading status in knowledge-based economy and infrastructure is now leading the region in the pursuits of green energies and technologies.
Nature is kind to all the GCC countries and “Sun” is ready to help them all in this regard. They all have political will, vision and enough funds to pursue the renewable/alternative energy resources for further strengthening of their respective national macro-economies.
All the GCC countries, prominently UAE have comprehensive renewable/alternative energy policies, regulations and future plans to lit-up their cities, towns and villages. Mega projects are being carried out and Masdar City is the prime example of UAE strong commitment towards the institutionalization of renewable/alternative energy resources.
According to many recent reports of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), 2011, renewable energy resource mix is essential for minimising climate risks, reducing poverty and improving global health, empowering women and meeting the Millennium Development Goals (MGDs), global economic growth, peace and security, and the health of the planet.
It has multiplier effects on economy, environment, and society. It is a value-addition to macro-economy and supports its pace. It guarantees sustainable development. It minimizes repercussions of hydrocarbons. It reduces high ratios of poverty, unemployment and speeds-up industrial production.
Green stands for prosperity, progression, productivity and protection because we all need interpreted inflows of save energy for our survival, development and industrial production.
A major expansion of renewable energy could create millions of jobs worldwide, stir economic growth in heavily indebted countries i.e. European Union (EU), United States of America (USA) and Asia. Germany has been leading the way by creating some 250,000 jobs in renewable energy in just a few years, but could do more. Greece and Portugal, for instance, could relatively quickly create thousands of new businesses and many more jobs with the right incentives for renewable energy that could trigger a boom in public-private partnerships.
It would be anti-disaster by lowering levels of carbon dioxide released into the atmosphere after replacing and start using renewable energy mix. It would be instrumental to reduce global warming which means lesser colossal natural calamities in shape of devastating floods, horrendous droughts, horrible heat-waves and rising sea levels (tsunamis) around the globe.
The mix of renewable energy has numerous social benefits too. According to International Energy Agency (IEA), 2011 it could provide electricity to over two billion people who currently have little, or very inconsistent access to power supplies around the globe. It would in turn help raise health and educational standards in developing countries.
GLOBAL EMERGING SCENARIOS
Solar Photovoltaic (PV):It global production and markets increased more than double in 2010. An estimated 17 GW of capacity was added worldwide compared with just less than 7.3 GW in 2009, bringing the global total to about 40 GW more than seven times the capacity in place five years earlier. Germany and Italy led the way.
Concentrating Solar Thermal Power (CSP: Nearly 740 MW added between 2007 and the end of 2010. More than half of this capacity was installed during 2010. Parabolic. USA, Japan, Spain and UAE registered tremendous development in it.
Solar hot water/heating: It increased by an estimated 25 GWth in 2010 to reach approximately 185 GWth. China continues to dominate the world market for solar hot water collectors. Europe’s market
shrank during 2010 due to the economic recession
Wind Power:It added 38 GW for a total of about 198 GW in 2010. China dominated it.
Biomass power and Heat:An estimated 62 GW of biomass power capacity was in operation by the end of 2010. China leads the world in the number of household biogas plants, and gasifiers.
Bio-fuels:The global ethanol industry production increased 17 percent in 2010 The US Brazil accounted for 88 percent of global ethanol production.
Geothermal Power and Heat:It operated in at least 24 countries in 2010, and it was used directly for heat in at least 78 countries. Although power development slowed in 2010, with global capacity reaching just over 11 GW.
Hydro-power:30 GW of capacity was added during the year, led by china and Brazil.
Ocean Energy:At least 25 countries are involved in ocean energy development, and wave and tidal technologies saw significant progress toward commercial generation during 2010. An estimated total of 6 MW of wave (2 MW) and tidal stream (4 MW) capacity had been installed, with most of this capacity in Europe.
Source: Renewables 2011, Global Status Report
Changes in renewable energy mix, patterns of investments, industries, and policies have been tremendous in recent years. Renewable energy which experienced no downturn in 2009, continued to grow strongly during 2010. It accounted 16 percent of global final energy consumption. Total global capacity of renewables including solar PV, wind power, concentrating solar thermal power (CSP), solar water heating systems, and bio-fuels registered 15-50 percent growth during 2010. Biomass and geothermal for power generation and heating also performed well. Wind power added the most new capacity followed by hydropower and solar PV in different countries of the world. Substantial hike in oil and gas prices in international markets, energy security issues (Iran, Sudan, Yemen, Venezuela, Libya), economic recession (EU, USA, Japan), and high human costs of using and relying so heavily on fossil and nuclear energy paved the big way of renewables. The BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, the “Arab Spring” triggered oil price volatility and added instability to energy markets in recent times. Moreover, phenomenal increase in the global demand for oil outpaced the capacity for production (China, India, Brazil, USA). Last but not the least, the recently happened Japan’s Fukushima nuclear disaster has forced the countries to develop renewables for the production of low-carbon electricity. The increasing geographic diversity in markets and manufacturing is boosting confidence that renewables are less vulnerable to policy or market dislocations in any specific country.
China, India and Brazil led the world in renewables during 2010. Out of the 118 countries that now have renewable energy policy targets or support policies, at least half of them are in the developing world. There is also a large diversity of policies in place at state/provincial and local levels. Globally, there are more than 3.5 million direct jobs was created from the mix of renewables in 2010.
China was the top installer of wind turbines and solar thermal systems and was the top hydropower producer too in 2010. India remained fifth worldwide in total existing wind power capacity and is rapidly expanding many forms of rural renewables such as biogas and solar PV. Brazil produces virtually all of the world’s sugar-derived ethanol and has been adding new hydropower, biomass, and wind power plants, as well as solar heating systems.
New reports of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) uphold that renewable energy is indispensable to achieve our targeted socio-economic short and long terms objectives. The Special Report on Renewable Energy Sources (SRREN) 2011, also highlights the potential of renewable energy to play the key role in mitigating climate change and increasing energy access, equity and security.
United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon strongly urged to have a clean energy revolution which would reduce climate risks, cut poverty and improve global health. He predicted that in the next 20 years, global energy demand would be increased by 20 per cent mostly in developing countries where 1.6 billion still lack access to electricity and 3 billion rely on traditional biomass fuels for cooking, heating and other basic household needs. So, to make renewable energy available and affordable for all is the need of the hour.
The International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) is of the opinion that renewables can enhance energy security, reduce greenhouse gas emissions, mitigate climate change, and boost the global economy; all of which have a multiplier effects. It further elaborates that renewable energies amount to only 18 per cent of the global energy consumption currently, but most forecasts predict this will increase to 50 per cent by 2050. There should be no lack of energy if the potential of renewable energy is utilised adequately. Moreover, solar energy alone could provide 2,000 times the current global energy demand.
It is predicted that the global cumulative CO2 savings between 2010 and 2050 will total 220 to 560 giga-tonnes (Gt) from fossil fuel sources. Renewables have the potential to bring power to the world’s poorest regions, boost energy security for nations dependent on imports, and curb the CO2 emissions that fuel global warming, The report suggests that renewable technologies, such as solar, could supply 80 per cent of our energy needs by 2050.
Comparative Study Electricity Demand, 2010
Country % of Renewables Addition
USA 10.9 5.6
China 26 12
Germany 11 16.8
Denmark – 22
Portugal – 21
Spain – 15.4
Ireland – 10.1
Source: Renewables 2011, Global Status Report
Renewable Energy Share of Global Electricity Production (2010)
Renewable energy accounted for approximately half of the estimated 194 gigawatts (GW) of new electric capacity added globally during the year. Renewables delivered close to 20 percent of global electricity supply in 2010, and by early 2011 they comprised one quarter of global power capacity from all sources.
It is estimated from different research reports that renewable energy contributes by 11 percent to main energy output today, while the total energy used from renewable energy sources is expected to amount to 60 percent by 2070. Nearly half of the 300 giga-watts of new electricity generating capacity added in 2008 and 2009 around the world, with more than 50 percent installed in developing countries more than 40 per cent came from renewables. Today, almost half of global investment in electricity generation is going into renewables.
Among the six major renewable energy sources bio-energy (agricultural and industrial residues, waste, forests, energy crops), geothermal, hydropower, ocean (wave, tidal, osmosis, thermal), solar (photovoltaic, solar thermal) and wind (on-shore and off-shore) has the greatest potential. The Middle East is abundantly blessed with sun.
GLOBAL INVESTMENTS IN RENEWABLES
According to the UNEP report (2011), “Global Trends in Renewable Energy Investment 2011, despite the recession, total global investment in renewable energy broke reached to its new height in 2010. Investment in renewable power and fuels reached $211 billion, up 32 percent from $160 billion in 2009. State-owned multilateral and bilateral development banks played an important role in the development of renewables in 2010.
Global News Investments in Renewable Energy (2004-2010)
According to International Renewable Energy Agency, 2011 (IRENA) sustainable energy investment was 70.9 billion US dollars in 2006, an increase of 43 percent over 2005. Furthermore, according to Bloomberg New Energy Finance (2011) global investment in renewable energy increased to US$243 billion in 2010, up five-fold from 2009. But it needs another US$6 trillion investment from China, EU and UK till to 2035. It is predicted that investment in renewable energy is set to triple between 2008 and 2035, mainly driven by the demand for power generation, but that the current glut of cheap gas and government fuel subsidies for generating power poses a threat. However, one of the key drivers to seeing growth in renewable energy will be government support and increase in private sector investments. The sectors with the highest levels of investment are wind, solar and bio-fuels, which reflects technology maturity, policy incentives and investor appetite.
Different research papers and statistical data of many international regulatory bodies suggest that costs for renewable energy development are falling due to huge demand from China: China’s drive for low-carbon energy is helping with economies of scale and we may see China dominating clean energy technology which will have a huge impact on western economies, especially in the automotive sector.
With higher prices and growing scarcity of fossil fuel, solar power has finally emerging as a viable and efficient source of energy. It witnessed a 53 per cent increase in installed capacity during 2009 and its price has dropped by 50 per cent in the last 10 years. It is estimated that at this rate, renewables will soon beat nuclear and fossil fuels in terms of offering. There are number of policy challenges to its large-scale manufacturing and placement. The lifecycle of the PV cells is very short due to extreme heat. A better solution might be represented by solar thermal power, which gathers solar energy though concentrators.
There is also a high potential for wind energy which has already been making its inroads for the last five years around the globe. To a certain extent, biomass could also represent a good alternative to manage the huge amount of waste that the country produces. Concrete efforts have also been initiated at replacing conventional fuel with hydrogen, which is a clean energy carrier and could be used to power cars.
UNITED ARAB EMIRATES’S DRIVE FOR RENEWABLES
UAE has been supplying energy, and has contributed to the growth of the global economy for over five decades. The United Arab Emirates has the 10 percent of the world’s oil reserves and 3.3 percent of the world’s gas reserves, but these are depleting by the passage of every day. Currently, the UAE has the world’s largest per capita carbon footprint because of power needed for desalination and air conditioning. But now, UAE has become a global hub for renewable energy and clean technology innovation and development.
Nevertheless, UAE is committed to develop renewable energy and reducing the amount of carbon emissions emitted into the airs that is why its leadership has already initiated diversified renewable energy policies for securing better future. According to International Energy Agency (2011), the UAE will increase its renewable energy up to 7 percent by the year 2020. The UAE Foreign Minister, Shaikh Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan stated that the UAE will be a world leader in renewable energy. The UAE has signed a memorandum of understanding with the Global Green Growth Institute (GGGI), for further strengthening of its pursuits of renewables. The goal is to increase the growth of renewable energy on a daily basis.
Undoubtedly, the UAE is leading the GCC and Middle East and North Africa (MENA), in the development of renewable energy. Its sincerity levels can be judged through its comprehensive renewable energy policies and diversified initiatives not confined to Masdar City, the world’s first carbon neutral zero waste city, the annual World Future Energy Summit, IRENA’s headquarters, the annual Zayed Award for Future Energy, creation of Department of Energy and Climate Change Affairs and environment-friendly legislations.
Climate change, energy security issues, depleting of oil and gas reservoirs (the UAE demand for gas will reach to 6 billion cubic feet a day by 2020 which means that, even with the supplies from the Dolphin gas project, the UAE will struggle to meet demand), diversification of macro-economy, export of green energy & technologies in the future and the last but not the least to meet the ever-increasing demands of power to support the socio-economy of the country, all compelled the leadership of the UAE to adopt saver, cheaper, sustainable and green solutions in shape of renewables.
Many regional research studies strongly indicate that UAE must excel and speed-up its clean energy education and empowerment women’s initiative, the clean energy solutions centre, the carbon capture use and storage action group, and the multilateral working group on wind and solar technologies for the further development renewable energy in the country.
(a) Masdar City
Masdar City (solar energy project) is a key element of the “Abu Dhabi 2030 Plan” and the government of Abu Dhabi’s strategic policy framework. Its projected cost is US$22 billion resulting in savings of US$2 billion in oil over 25 years.
It includes projects targeting solar, wind power and hydrogen fuel and reduction and management of carbon emissions. It aims to be the first zero carbon emission and car free city in the world, housing 50,000 inhabitants and 1,500 companies. It integrates the R&D, energy production, and commercialization efforts. The ultra modern city will be completed by 2015. It is claimed that, when complete, it will use 70 per cent less electricity and 60 per cent less water than a conventional city. It was launched in April 2006.
Its Masdar Carbon unit offers comprehensive Carbon Management Solutions and specializes in developing energy efficiency and clean fossil fuel projects that reduce carbon emissions while creating additional value through carbon monetization under international policy.
Masdar City: An International Brand
During 2011, it has achieved many international recognitions including ‘Best Carbon Markets Renewable Energy Project Developers, Middle East 2011’ Award from the prestigious World Finance magazine. Even World Bank endorsed its viability and importance. It succeeded to expand its overseas exposures in different countries. Details are given bellow as:
Projects Names Types of Renewables Countries
London Array offshore Wind United Kingdom
Thermal power plants Solar Spain
Carbon-Tri-Ocean Ocean Egypt
6-megawatt offshore Wind Seychelles
280 MW of thin-film Solar Eastern Germany
Source: Different Research Journals
Most recently, it has completed its joint venture with Torresol Energy, the world’s first commercial scale plant (CSP) in Spain which will help to reduce carbon emissions by over 30,000 tonnes a year. It will fulfill the requirements of 25,000 homes throughout Spain’s Andalusia. It will produce round 24/7 electrical power from renewable sources of energy i.e. 19.9 megawatt. The technology behind the plant allows solar power to be stored and electricity produced from it even during hours of darkness or poor daylight in winter.
Masdar City is also proposing to build the Gulf’s first geothermal energy facility. The US$11 billion project will be partially built by the Icelandic company Reykjavik Geothermal. When complete, the geothermal project will be used to power the city’s 5- MW air conditioning system in the future.
(b) Shams 1
Shams-1 is the first full scale renewable energy plant in the Abu Dhabi and largest CSP plant in the world. It will generate 100 MW covering an area of 2.5 km², with plans to increase capacity to 2000 MW in the future. It is estimated to cost US$600 million, and is being developed by Masdar alongside Spain’s Abengoa Solar and France’s Total S.A.
It consists of 768 parabolic trough collectors. It will be completed by 2012. According to Masdar claims it would displace approximately 175,000 tonnes of CO² per year, which is the equivalent to the planting of 1.5 million trees in the days to come. The Shams II plant will be completed in mid-2013.
(c) Hydrogen Power Abu Dhabi (HPAD)
It is a 60:40 joint venture between Masdar and BP to construct the world’s first commercial scale hydrogen fuelled power plant, utilising fossil fuel feed stock and CCS. The project will require a total capital investment of about AED 7 billion i.e. US$2 billion. The project will take natural gas from the grid and convert it to hydrogen and CO². The hydrogen power plant will generate approximately 400 MW of low-carbon electricity, and could provide more than 5 per cent of all Abu Dhabi’s current power generation.
(d) Private Sector Solar-Grade Poly-Silicon Plant
A lot of new projects have been carried out in the UAE by its private sector which is taking steps to promote sustainable, cleaner and greener technologies in the country.
In this regard, MBM Holdings has recently announced the formation of MBM Solar Holding Inc of worth US$400 million. It will build a solar grade poly-silicon plant in the country. The project will be the first upstream plant and is the largest planned solar plant in the region, anticipated to cover a total area of approximately 250,000 square metres. The planned plant will have a total capacity of 2,500 tons per annum of high quality solar-grade poly-silicon product and is expected to start production in early 2012.
(e) Dubai Solar Power Plant
Dubai Water and Electricity Authority (DEWA) plans to build the first solar power plant in Dubai. Its capacity will be ranging between 10 and 100 MW. It will be UAE’s second solar power station Masdar’s Shams 1 solar power station in Abu Dhabi being the first solar plant in the GCC region. The plant will use either photovoltaic or thermal solar technology. Construction is scheduled to commence in 2011.
(f) Different Ongoing Projects/Efforts
Other than, these mega renewable energy projects the UAE’s government tried hard to develop a 30 MW wind energy project but wind would not play a key source as it had initially anticipated. Notwithstanding, sincere efforts are still going on in this field. UAE also dig into geothermal energy and drilled two, 2.5 kilometer test wells. The end result was not up to the mark. But the resource could be enough to run heat exchangers to run air conditioning and pipe the cold air throughout homes and offices in a district-wide network.
Diversification of Energy Mix
More than big and small 17 projects of the better conserve energy and drive sustainable development are being carried out throughout the UAE. It includes the Department of Municipal Affairs (DMA) and the three regional municipal administrations: Abu Dhabi Municipality, Al Ain Municipality, and Western Region Municipality projects of the renewable energy which also showed the gradual lessen reliance of the UAE on more traditional forms of energy. Moreover, adoption of the International Energy Code, use of LED technology, anti-plastic bag legislation and massive plantation are the few prominent features of the UAE government towards the further development of renewables by increasing public awareness.
The UAE is one of the largest consumers, per capita, of electricity, cars, fuel and water in the world which urgently needs transformation from fossil fuels to renewables. UAE by investing so heavily and responsibly in renewable energy, has become the renewable energy hub in the region. Its strong political commitment and substantial funds allocation in renewable energy mix to reduce dependence on fossil fuels and stem global warming show the way for other countries.
Solar power is just one form of clean energy available in UAE and region. Wind, the power of ocean waves and currents can also be used to generate electricity in the UAE. Masdar is also assessing whether to build a wind farm of up to 30MW on Yas Island. Biomass could also be used as a good alternative to manage the huge amount of waste that the country produces. Prospects are bright even for replacing conventional fuel with hydrogen, which is a clean energy carrier and could be used to power cars.
It is estimated that the renewables would generate $6-8 billion, i.e. Dh22.02bn in alternative energy infrastructure development, which will incentives local as well as businessmen and investors to invest in the UAE. It seems that renewables is an excellent choice for economic diversification in the UAE. It is hoped that the Abu Dhabi based solar integrator, renewable energy and clean energy sector would help revive and protect nations’ environmental and economic health.
It is predicted that in the ongoing global economic recession millions of people may get jobs in the renewable energy sector around the globe and UAE is not any exemption.
Renewable Energy’s Multiplier Effects
It is predicted that alternative/renewable energy would have multiplier effects on humanity, society, business, economy, nature, and politics in the years to come.
(a) Reduction of carbon emission.
(b) Increase in agro-productivity
(c) Easy and smooth means of energy
(d) Decrease in cost of production
(e) Effective control on deteriorating levels of climate change
(f) Diversification of economy
(g) Generation of employment and creation of millions of new job.
(h) Transformation of labour based economy to a knowledge based economy.
Renewable energy mix provides energy security, improves climate change conditions and facilitates sustainable development for matching the rapid growth of the country.
Solar energy is by all means the best. However, there are number of obstacles to its large scale deployment. Normally, the lifecycle of the PV cells is very short due to extreme heat. Solar thermal power which gathers solar energy though concentrators may be better solution for it in the UAE.
Challenges vary from country to country and from region to region. It is not confined to financial scarcity (research and development is very expensive, and there is no guarantee of success) technological backwardness (we do not have the systems, materials and parts necessary to harness efficiently the almost limitless available energy from sun, wind and waves and distribute it to homes, offices and factories) economic inadequacies (limited funds for the development of renewables, taxation, exemptions) administrative delays (bureaucratic systems, legislation), marketability (still limited marketplace for renewable) and the last but not the least human capital (shortage of skilled people, professionals). Future investment in the renewable energy sector faces challenges from policy development, regulatory frameworks and economic market forces.
State funding to support research and development for renewables, is needed to drive micro innovation that will refine efficiency and cost. Marketplace incentives such as feed-in tariffs payments for contributing power to the grid and renewables obligations will also be required to drive adoption of molten salt storage. Investment-friendly policies would encourage the funding necessary for these huge projects. Nevertheless, proper policy framework, financing and human capacity building are supposed to be main hurdles in the development of renewables.
GCC RENEWABLES EMERGING TRENDS
Gulf Cooperation Council countries strongly urged to consider alternative energy instead of peaceful nuclear energy amid perceived high risks the latter entails. The GCC countries are in need of power and water, with multi-billion dollars worth of projects have been announced. Saudi Arabia, along with many other GCC states have been making significant strides in the field of renewable energy resources. High levels of climate change, energy security fears, depleting of regional natural energy and the urgent need to modernize the economic systems to push the wheel of sustainable development forward to serve the development process have forced all the GCC states to invest for the development of renewables.
Renewables Initiatives Country
Enpark development UAE, Dubai
Energy Park Qatar
Shams Maan project Jordan
Zero emissions Saudi Arabia
Saudi Arabia recently announced major solar investment with the King Abdullah University of Science and Technology (KAUST) having its roof layered with solar panels. In addition to the $22 billion Masdar City project in the UAE similar carbon neutral initiatives are under development in Saudi Arabia, Qatar and Jordan too.
GCC Renewables Initiatives and Projects
Country Initiatives and Projects
It started its renewables (solar) journey in 1970s but nothing succeeded. Now, it has plans to generate electricity from solar, capacity of 1,250MW, at $650 million. In this connection, government signed MOU with Toyota Tsusho Corporation in 2008.
Bahrain A wind energy plant, and two new “hybrid” power plants for solar and wind energy are at completion stage of worth $8 million.
Qatar Solar thermal cooling part of 2022 FIFA World Cup is at final stage.
Oman Reviewing potential solar plant between 50 and 200 MW for electricity is at completion stage.
UAE It plans to generate 7 percent renewable by 2020. Noor 1. 100 MW PV plant under preparation. Abu Dhabi Solar Roof Program. Masdar and Abu Dhabi Gov. Eventual capacity 500 MW over 10 years (50 MW per year are successfully carried out.
Saudi Arabia It plans to generate 15 percent of energy from solar by 2020. It wants to develop regulatory regime and incentives to encourage investment in solar energy. It estimates to invest $100 Billion in solar and nuclear for next 10 years.
Right from 1960s Saudi Arabia initiated different meaningful projects. 10 MW of solar Carport System at North Park at Aramco Headquarters in Dhahran contract was awarded to Belectric company of Germany. In January 2010 KACST launched major initiative to produce desalinated water and electricity using solar power.
It has plans to generate 500 MW of solar energy in the next 3 years. It aims to make solar energy a major contributor to power supply in the next 5-10 years. It has an average solar radiation of 1,700-2,200 kWh/m2 per year, among the highest in the world. Its private sector has the financial strength to launch solar power generation and manufacturing. SOLERAS and Aramco are carried out different big and small projects.
Source: Energy Security Initiatives (June, 2011).
Regional Renewables Initiatives
Interest in renewables surged in recent years due to, increase in oil prices, looming threats of climate change and energy security. Details of two important regional initiatives are given below as:
Desertec Industrial Initiative It launched in 2009. It will cover Europe’s 15 percent electricity demands generated from solar power in the desert south of the Mediterranean by 2050. It costs $570bn. Egypt, Morocco, Tunisia, Algeria and Mauritania will be main stakeholders in terms of financial benefits if the plan takes off. Moreover, many regional countries and Turkey could earn some $90bn a year by 2050 from their solar energy exports.
The Mediterranean Solar Plan It was initiated in July 2008 for the Mediterranean Region. It will generate 20 GW of power by 2020 i.e. 3-4 GW PV, 10-12 GW CSP, 5-6 GW wind. France and Egypt will jointly prepare an Action Plan for implementation.
The need for developing a global partnership on renewable energy, particularly solar and wind resources involving public and private sectors, to ensure availability of affordable energy to the common man is immense. UAE has demonstrated to the world that trade and commerce, innovation and invention, ideas and enterprise could make a desert bloom. It is now heavily investing in the fields of renewable energy mix particularly in solar energy.
The deteriorating global warming levels and drastic changes in the climates have compelled us to find new sustainable, renewable energy resources to power the planet without further damages to environment equilibrium. The exemplary role of the UAE is highly appreciated. Solar as well as the other renewable energy mix are key opportunities for energy diversification in the region, with UAE taking a regional leading role in these sectors.
(a) Governments must develop a well-designed, long term and consistent price support mechanism, which is able to adapt predictably over time to changes in technology and costs.
(b) Strong political will is urgently needed to bring changes and achieving desired goals of renewable energy resources and reducing levels of emissions.
(c) Urgent need for greater government involvement in moving things forward on renewable energy resources around the globe.
(d) More incentives for the private sectors to make huge investments in the renewable energy resources.
(e) Regional cooperation and collaboration must be promoted
(f) Organisations, institutions and all members of community projects to shift towards renewable energy technologies and clean energy solutions in order to further the use of these solutions and innovations to ensure the preservations of environment and contribute to reducing the impact on climate change
(g) More emphasize must be given to importance of nurturing the national talent and growing national capabilities in the development and implementation of renewable energy technologies in the UAE.