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US$700 billion investment to boost renewable energy in the Arab World by 2050

September 7, 2022

The Arab World will witness US$700 billion investment in renewable energy transition between 2020 and 2050 with a target to generate more than 70 Gigawatts of power from renewable energy by 2050, a top official said at the two-day MENA Power Projects 2022.

A shift from fossil-fuel to renewable energy sources – solar, wind, hydro and green hydrogen – as well as clean nuclear energy, dominates the US$250 billion worth of power projects in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region, according to officials and experts who gathered at the two-day MENA Power Projects 2022 conference that took off at the Conrad Abu Dhabi Etihad Tower, UAE.

The MENA region is expected to add 5.6 GW of installed capacity from renewables in 2022, nearly double the 3GW which came online in 2021. By 2026, the region is expected to add 33GW by installed capacity of renewables, with around 26 GW as utility and distributed solar PV, according to a latest report published by Arab Petroleum Investments Corporation (APICORP).

More than 200 delegates including senior government officials, project owners, project management professionals, project developers, contractors, sub-contractors, technology providers, utility suppliers, industry experts and key stakeholders participated at the MENA Power Projects 2022 that started today. For two consecutive days, September 07 & 08, 2022, experts will continue discussing project opportunities in the power sector, at the conference.

The UAE is at the forefront of the energy transition from fossil fuels to renewable energy and green hydrogen eco-system, officials said.

H.E. Yousif Ahmed Al Ali, Assistant Undersecretary for Water, Electricity and Future Energy Affairs, Ministry of Energy and Infrastructure, UAE

“The UAE Energy Strategy 2050 has clear objectives: Increasing the share of clean energy in the total energy mix to reach 50 percent by the year 2050; reducing the carbon footprint of power generation by 70 percent and increasing consumption efficiency of all users by 40 percent,” H.E. Yousif Ahmed Al Ali, Assistant Undersecretary for Water, Electricity and Future Energy Affairs, Ministry of Energy and Infrastructure, UAE, told delegates at the two-day MENA Power Projects 2022 conference.

“Over the next decade, the UAE will focus on driving clean electrification through solar and nuclear power, implementing transparent policy, improving energy efficiency, reducing methane emissions and turbocharging innovation to commercialization of hydrogen, accompanied by strategies to unlock capital flows in support of clean energy transitions and ensure reliability and affordability.”

He said, supporting the UAE’s national agenda and the developments in the Power and Water sectors, the UAE Government has launched strategic projects to transform the sector, namely nuclear, which is a pioneering initiative in the Middle East, leading the region’s first large-scale solar PV plants, first solar thermal, battery storages, hydro-storage, waste-to-energy, etc.

Mohammed Al Taani, Secretary-General of the Arab Renewable Energy Commission, said, the Arab World will see more than 300 million Electric Vehicles (EVs) in operation by 2040.

“Arab World will witness US$700 billion investment in renewable energy transition between 2020 and 2050 with a target to generate more than 70 Gigawatts of power from renewable energy by 2050,” he said. “Hydrogen and EVs future up to 300 million vehicles by 2040 and more than 60 percent of the total active vehicles by 2050.”

According to the Pan Arab Clean Energy (PACE) initiative by the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA), the Arab World is committed to raise the power generation by renewable energy to 80 GW by 2030. This will bring a large number of renewable energy projects online in the next few years.

According to APICORP, investment in the MENA power sector will exceed a total of US$250 billion, the highest of all energy sectors. Of these, nearly US$60 billion worth of power projects are being developed in Saudi Arabia, followed by Egypt where US$37 billion worth of power projects, country-wise data shows.

Among the current top 25 power projects in MENA region, 9 of them are in the UAE. In terms of project value, the UAE comes third with US$26 billion worth of power projects under planning and development.

Global energy investment is set to increase by 8 percent to reach US$2.4 trillion in 2022, with the anticipated rise coming mainly in clean energy, according to a new report by the International Energy Agency (IEA).

“Investment is increasing in all parts of the energy sector, but the main boost in recent years has come from the power sector – mainly in renewables and grids – and from increased spending on end-use efficiency,” IEA said in the report.

“Clean energy investment is – finally – starting to pick up and is expected to exceed US$1.4 trillion in 2022, accounting for almost three-quarters of the growth in overall energy investment.”

Due to the high cost of fuel, the total energy bill paid by the world’s consumers is likely to top US$10 trillion for the first time in 2022, it said.

Global investment in the renewable energy sector climbed 11 per cent to $226 billion in the first half of 2022 amid higher energy prices, according to a report by research company BloombergNEF (Bnef). Investment in new large- and small-scale solar projects rose 33 per cent to a record-breaking $120 billion, while wind project financing grew 16 per cent to $84 billion, the report said.

MENA Power Projects 2022 aims to foster innovation and diversification to achieve energy transition, discuss on the development of clean, green and renewable energy and secure more businesses in this sector. Delegates at the forum will listen from more than 40 experts discussing a set of wide-ranging subjects.

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