Long reliant on traditional sources of energy, the Middle East – led by Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, are leading the charge towards renewable energy.
According to the World Bank, primary energy demand in the Middle East is set to rise at 1.9% per year through to 2035. This pressure on the finite resource has led resource rich countries wanting to limit domestic consumption. Renewables, such as wind and solar power offer an opportunity to diversify consumption, and energy mixes.
For many years, the region was somewhat slow to adopt renewable energy. While parts of the region have long had personal solar panels, companies and experts in the renewable energy sector often expressed frustration in trying to attract investment or in developing pilot projects for larger-scale production. However, in recent years, this has changed, and parts of the region now appear on track to significantly increase their use of solar and wind power.
The region is well suited to alternative forms of energy – extensive amounts and hours of sunshine offer ample opportunities for solar PV production, as well as to concentrated solar power (CSP) in some countries. Wind is another option, especially in North Africa, but also in places such as Saudi Arabia, Oman and Kuwait. Indeed, Saudi Arabia has recently announced its intentions to to become the Middle East’s largest wind power market in the next decade, according to new analysis, with the desert kingdom accounting for nearly half of new additions in the region by 2028.
There are many reasons as to why alternative forms of energy such as solar and wind power have become part of the regions future plans. Ultimately, strong environmental advantages combined with significant energy demand and governments’ experience in managing infrastructure development have come together to deliver the perfect combination for expanding renewable energy production in the region.