MEED’s latest report provides an update on the region’s energy diversification strategies, the hydrogen sector’s growth, project opportunities, and investment drivers.
The health crisis hasn’t slowed the region’s long-term increase in energy demand, and the need to diversify energy sources and decarbonize the economy has pushed renewables to the top of the energy policy agenda.
New developments, such as green hydrogen, are attracting the attention of investors at the same time.
Although the Middle East lags behind China, Europe, and the United States in terms of renewable energy investment, Saudi Arabia, Abu Dhabi, and Dubai now have the world’s largest and cheapest solar projects. The area aspires to be a center for renewable energy and alternative fuel growth.
Renewable energy accounts for just 7% of the region’s power generation capacity, with around 28GW deployed throughout the Middle East and North Africa (Mena), with hydropower accounting for the vast majority (21GW).
However, with electricity demand increasing at a rate of about 5% per year and a scarcity of readily available natural gas, expanding renewables capacity is a top policy priority. Governments across the area have set ambitious renewable energy goals, with Dubai being the most aggressive, aiming for 75 percent clean energy by 2050.
Around 98GW of new renewable energy generation capacity was planned at the start of 2021, with another 39GW expected to come online by 2025.
The need for a “green” recovery from the pandemic has sparked a flurry of ventures in the Middle East to generate hydrogen fuel in the last year. Governments are showing a lot of interest in using the region’s abundant supply of low-cost solar energy to generate sustainable “green” hydrogen from water.
Over the last decade, solar energy production costs have decreased, and regulatory reforms have reduced the commercial risk of investing in renewables. As new technology advances, making renewable fuels economically and technologically viable, this trend will continue, promoting the region’s energy diversification.