Is the Middle East the New Powerhouse for Renewable Tech?

Is the Middle East the New Powerhouse for Renewable Tech?

Energy, Power & Renewables, Architecture & Design, Temporary...

As the Middle East struggles with environmental issues such as industrial pollution, water scarcity and unsustainable energy consumption, the region is poised to act as a global leader on the renewable energy stage.

Amidst concerns about global warming, the energy intense economies of the UAE and Saudi Arabia have in particular stepped up to prioritise clean energy sources to lower their carbon footprint and begin a path to a more sustainable future.

Saudi Arabia plans for 10% of it’s electricity to come from renewable sources by 2040, and the UAE has more ambitious plans of 30% by 2030. These numbers do not seem high by European standards, but for countries who still enjoy such an abundance of fossil fuels, the switch to cleaner energy is commendable.

There are many examples of innovation in this sector, but for me, the biggest impacts will be made where renewable technologies are integrated into the lives of normal citizens. One example is Masdar City in Abu Dhabi that will be the first zero-carbon, zero-waste modern example of cleantech living. When you consider the detrimental effect of just the air-conditioning in the region’s homes and workplaces, every positive effort to redress the balance will make a difference.

In many cases, it makes sense to harness the assets that nature provides. While windy Scotland installs fields of offshore wind turbines, it makes absolute sense for the sweltering Middle East to tap into the power of the sun. In this area, one of the shining examples is Oman’s one of the best examples being Oman’s Miraah project. It is set to be one of the world’s largest solar plants, saving 300,000 tons of emissions per year – the equivalent of removing 63,000 cars from the road. 

Karl Ove Ingebrigsten, Director of Low Carbon Power Generation Division at Lloyd’s Register laid out the clear economic benefits of a low-carbon economy: “Countries that have embraced renewable energy have seen the rewards. Investment grows, jobs grow, and there are economy benefits across the board; the Middle East is no exception. Technological developments are indeed making a low carbon future increasingly viable, and driving down the cost of technology development and deployment is a key factor”

The Middle East is a wonderful place in which to live and work, but a I read that Doha was the 12th most polluted place on our planet, I couldn’t help but think that we all need to do our bit to influence our countries along a more sustainable path for the sake of our children.

It might be a dream to hope that the region can go fully renewable, but we have to put political and corporate interests to one side. In any case, as future oil demand is sure to soften, it makes commercial sense to put cleantech innovation at the heart of our energy policy.

Maybe if gas and oil become (eventually) become less important commodities, the region may at some future date enjoy some more peaceful times?