Various countries in the world’s most oil-dependent region, the Middle East, have started to look above ground for generating energy to diversify away from their primary below-ground energy source.
Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates (UAE), and Oman, to name a few, have set some ambitious goals to boost the construction of clean energy facilities and the use of renewables in their energy mix in the long term.
As global solar and wind costs continue to drop and make those energy solutions increasingly competitive, the Middle East is expected to continue to move ahead with renewable projects this year, according to UAE’s outlet The National.
Globally, the levelized cost of electricity from solar PV, which is now nearly a quarter of what it was in 2009, is expected to slide by another 66 percent by 2040, Bloomberg New Energy Finance (BNEF) said in a report in June 2017. Offshore wind costs are seen dropping by 71 percent, while onshore wind costs are expected to decline by 47 percent by 2040.
Saudi Arabia has its National Renewable Energy Program, aiming to boost the share of renewables in the energy mix, and targeting the generation of 3.45 gigawatts (GW) of renewable energy by 2020, which would represent around 4 percent of generation capacity. By 2023, the Saudi target is 9.5 GW, which would be 10 percent of generation capacity.
The Saudi renewables program is directly supporting the Vision 2030 strategy to overhaul its economy and diversify it away from oil. Ironically, the Saudis expect to fund part of the Vision 2030 plan with the proceeds they expect to reap from the initial public offering (IPO) of oil giant Aramco, currently slated for the second half of 2018.
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