Electricity Diversity Takes
Shape in the Middle East
IN the last year, a number of coun- tries in the Middle East have revised their energy policies to diversify
their electricity generation and increase
the use of cleaner, renewable power.
Though the Middle East is home to
some of the largest oil and natural gas
producers on the planet, countries
within the region are investing more
money in solar, geothermal and other
renewable sources and encouraging energy effcient projects.
Saudi Arabia aims to expand
renewable energy market
In July, Saudi Arabia invested $109 bil-
lion in renewable energy development.
The investment will help the country
reach its goal of generating a third of its
energy from solar, wind and other renewable sources of power, Arab News
reported earlier this year.
Also in July, the King Abdullah City
for Atomic and Renewable Energy (
KA-CARE) released details of its new National Energy Plan, which details just
how much renewable energy it aims to
generate. According to the plan, Saudi Arabia will add 41 gigawatts of solar
power, 1 GW of geothermal and 9 GW
of wind power. The country also plans
to add 18 GW of nuclear power and 3
GW of waste-to-energy, according to the
In December 2012, Saudi Arabia
announced its first large-scale solar
project would be complete by the end
of the year. The installation produces
100 megawatts at full capacity - enough
to power 20,000 homes. The project will
also help Saudi Arabia meet its goal of
having renewable energy account for 7
percent of its total power supply by 2020.
“We truly believe solar will be a major contributor to meeting our own requirements,” said Sultan Ahmed Al-Jaber, the UAE’s special envoy for Energy
and Climate Change, the Saudi Gazette
reported. “We are not like many other countries today that have a desperate need for complementary sources of
power. We are looking at it from a strategic point of view ... we want to become
a technology player, rather than an energy player.”
UAE energy diversifcation
The United Arab Emirates has also
made major investments in energy generation in the past year. In July, Ministry
of Energy Suhail Al Mazrouie said the
country would invest $25 billion over
the next fve years to explore new natural gas felds and increase its gas output,
the Arabian Gazette reported.
Months later, in October, UAE gov-
ernment officials made another an-
nouncement regarding energy policy.
UAE’s Undersecretary of Energy Dr.
Matar Al Niyadi said the country would
be diversifying its energy mix, with new
energy policy focusing on “diversifca-
tion, conservation and effciency” as
well as securing an energy supply and
managing talent in the industry, the
Khaleej Times reported.
“Diversifying our energy mix is the
Niyada also spoke of other UAE proj-
frst pillar of our energy policy,” Al Niya-
di said. “To meet immediate demands,
we are using more natural gas to gener-
ate electricity, because of its clean and
effcient burning properties.”
The country was the frst in the Mid-
dle East to establish renewable energy
targets, Al Niyadi said. In March, the
country approved the largest concen-
trated solar power plant in the world,
the Shams 1 project. This, along with
other projects, will help UAE reach its
goal of generating 2. 5 gigawatts of new
renewable energy capacity by 2030, the
Khaleej Times reported.
ects in the pipeline that will help the
country meet its energy diversifcation
policy, including energy effciency and
“In the UAE, we have the region’s
frst mandatory green building codes,