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Renewable energy on the rise in the Middle East

As the Middle East ramps up efforts to become less dependent on fossil fuel-based economies, we've taken a look at the factors driving the agenda

With the energy and utility sector undergoing an extensive transformation in the Middle East, we’ve taken a closer look at what the region has on its agenda.

The Middle East, energy and utility sector in statistics:

  • Electricity demand expected to triple by 2050

  • Over US$100bn worth of clean energy projects are in the pipeline

  • Total investment in clean energy is expected to exceed US$300bn by 2050

  • Cost of installation has fallen by 73% since 2010

  • The UAE aims to have 50% of its energy produced by carbon-free sources by 2050

  • Saudi Arabia aims to install 58.7GW of renewable energy by 2030 

  • Dubai aims to achieve 75% clean energy by 2050

Middle East Energy - the region’s leading trade event for the power industry - notes that with the government’s increased focus on energy security and maximised return from hydrocarbon resources is driving some of the largest renewable energy projects.

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Milestones made in 2019 by the region:

  • Commissioning of the world’s largest single-site photovoltaic (PV) solar plant, the 1.17GW Sweihan independent power project (IPP) in Abu Dhabi.

  • Reaching a financial close for a US$4.3bn concentrated solar power (CSP) project, the largest single-site power investment project in the world.

In addition to an increase in energy projects, it is expected that the region will see an acceleration in integrated alternative energy in 2020 to meet the rising demand for power.

Why is the demand increasing?

Rapid population growth and ambitious industrial and economic expansion is resulting in a growing need for power. In addition utilities are seeking to diversify their fuel sources for power generation to reduce costs and emissions. 

“Based on the renewables targets already in place, the region, led by the UAE, could save 354mn barrels of oil which is equivalent to a 23% reduction, cutting the power sector’s carbon dioxide emissions by 22%, and slashing water withdrawal in the power sector by 17% by 2030,” said Gareth Rapley, Group Director, Industrial, at Informa Markets, organiser of Middle East Energy.