13 February 2011
DUBAI — The Middle East and Africa region has excellent potential for the development of wind and solar energies, and the UAE is set to lead it by setting up projects based on renewable energy, a report said on Saturday.
“There has been a strong political push to showcase the UAE as a leader in the renewable energy field. Abu Dhabi is planning to introduce a programme of subsidies for solar power projects. The Department of Economic Development has been working on a framework for a subsidy system since at least 2008,” according to alternate asset management company Al Masah Capital.
The UAE aims to supply seven per cent of its electricity from renewable sources by 2020. Apart from the Masdar City project in Abu Dhabi, other emirates have also shifted its focus to renewable energy and some major announcements are expected in the near future.
“In Dubai, feasibility studies are being undertaken for a $1 billion wind farm project, which may supply up to 10 per cent of Dubai city’s power in the future,” the report said, adding that the feasibility study for a 66 megawatts wind farm project in Fujairah has also been completed.
In its latest report entitled “Unlocking the potential of alternative energy in the MENA region,” Al Masah Capital said the use of alternative energy has been critical to sustaining the economic growth of the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region with a large-scale shift in its energy supplies becoming imperative in the face of rapidly rising local energy demand, which in itself cannot be met due to the imbalance created by oil and gas exports.
“The region has to significantly bolster its energy efficiency and begin to harness power from commercially viable, scalable and efficient alternative sources and technologies to transform itself from complete oil dependency to a more balanced economy, which prominently features alternative fuels,” the report said.
Alternative fuel development is gathering pace in the region in line with regional governments’ commitments to energy saving and fossil fuel consumption reduction. While the shift from fossil fuels to renewable energy will require the construction of wind, solar, nuclear and other green installations on a vast scale, significantly altering the face of the region, green energy mandates are bound to transform the region’s energy supply matrix in the near future.
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