GCC firms 'must invest in renewable energy'
Doha, February 4, 2013
Gulf oil producers must pump funds into renewable energy sources and focus on conservation measures to ensure sustainable growth and manage their supply-demand balance, according to a key British business publishing group.
The GCC countries, which control over 40 per cent of the world’s proven oil resources, already have plans to invest heavily in the conventional energy sector to meeting rising domestic power and water demand but they also need to focus on the other sources of energy, said Debbie Stanford-Kristiansen, the international events director at PennWell Corp ME, organisers of PowerGen Middle East and WaterWorld Middle East conference and exhibition which opened in Doha today (Feb 4).
“In the coming years, far more attention will need to be placed on demand supply management. To ensure sustainable growth in the long-term, more investment needs to be channeled towards energy-efficiency measures such as clean fuel and renewable energy supplies, improving water efficiency, investing in new water desalination capacity and buying or leasing agricultural land abroad,” she noted.
“In view of the demand-supply gap and abundant availability of sunlight as a resource in the GCC, more emphasis needs to be placed on solar power as a viable energy source to meet emerging needs. In order to cater to peak loads, GCC Governments need to implement new projects to mitigate ageing power infrastructure and support new diversification plans,” Stanford-Kristiansen added.
According to her, conservation measures such as energy efficient buildings, district cooling, metering and grid interconnections which are slowly gaining higher priority, will also need to be pursued and enforced much more rigorously.
She said multi-billion dollar projects are on the cards in the GCC and other Arab countries, including nearly $17 billion in Saudi Arabia in 2013.
Projects worth about $4.2 billion are also being planned in the UAE and Kuwait.
Stanford-Kristiansen said that rising oil and gas prices combined with increasing domestic power requirements are prompting GCC governments to increase investments in the power and water sector, as well as secure alternative sources of energy.
“For most Arab states, raising the contribution of solar and wind power in the energy mix is only one part of the renewables drive. Increasingly, governments realise the need for nurturing new solar-related manufacturing, which will not only create much-needed employment but also assist in economic diversification,” she noted.
Stanford-Kristiansen said high oil prices allowed GCC countries to fund costly energy and industrial projects.
“This is particularly evident in the GCC where now, the most pressing issue facing the utility market is obtaining new and competitively priced gas allocations,” she added.
Power-Gen Middle East’s keynote session will be chaired by Hisham Khatib, Honorary vice chairman, World Energy Council, Jordan with presentations including an Overview of the Power Industry in the Middle East and SEC Generation Projects Plan 2012-2022 (Growth & Opportunities) followed by Kurdistan Region Iraq Electricity Situation.
She said WaterWorld Middle East will also feature a spotlight session,country spotlights, adding that this session will discuss amongst others, Qatar’s Inner Doha re-sewerage implementation strategy, an Overview of Jordan’s water sector, spotlights on wastewater sector in Iraq and desalination developments across the Middle East.-TradeArabia News Service