Oil-rich countries are choosing renewables as a means to create jobs, boost GDP and improve livelihoods – as well as reduce emissions
Dramatically falling solar photovoltaic costs are changing the economic equation. A solar photovoltaic tender in Dubai earlier this year resulted in record-low price of $0.06 per kilowatt hour – cheaper than domestically produced gas generation. Jordan’s recent tender results locked in power prices of between $0.06-0.08.
Accelerating signs of climate change and rising global temperatures are perhaps more pressing here in the Middle East than anywhere else on the planet. Record-breaking temperatures made global headlines this year and a recent scientific study predicts the region will face heatwaves “beyond the limit of human survival” if climate change remains unchecked.
For oil-producing nations that use a substantial share for power generation, solar is increasingly the quickest, least-risk investment to add export capacity and revenue while satisfying rapid demand growth for electricity.
This shift is causing huge development and investment across the region. Morocco is building the world’s largest concentrated solar power plant, which will provide half the country’s energy by 2020. The UAE is building what could eventually be one of the world’s largest solar photovoltaic plants. Additional projects are in the works in Egypt, Jordan and Saudi Arabia.
Burning fossil fuels to create steam to generate electricity uses water. Solar power and wind power require very little water. So renewables also cut water consumption, crucial in a region where fresh water is scarce, and likely to become even more so as a result of climate change.
The Guardian: 19 November 2015
Key Words: Climate Change, technology
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