British Prime Minister Meets with Rwandan President    General Secretariat of Senior Scholars Council Strongly Condemns Terrorist Attack on Ma'rib Mosque    37th Khartoum International Fair Opens    Minister of Hajj and Umrah Receives Algerian Minister of Religious Affairs and Endowment    Al-Awwad Meets with President of Human Rights Council    KSA Participates in the World Economic Forum Davos 2020    Poison Control Center in Eastern Region Obtains CAP Accreditation    Mawani obtains ISO certificate in field of information security    Asian Shares Mostly Higher    Abdullah bin Zayed meets President of European Council    Saudi Arabia Announces 54% Increase in Number of New International Companies in 2019, in Record Year for Foreign Investment    CEO of RCJY Receives US Ambassador    KSA Olympics Football Team Tops Second Group in AFC U-23 Championship    Saudi National Futsal Team Arrives in Spain    Rashford double helps Man United to 4-0 rout of Norwich    Atlético Madrid sets a date for the final of Super Copa with Real Madrid this Sunday    Red Sea International Film Festival Opens Accreditation    Saudi Arabia Creates the Future of Art with Artathon Competition that Merges Artistic Creativity with Artificial Intelligence    Red Sea International Film Festival Shows Rare Films of Late Saudi photographer Safouh Nomani    Saudi CDC Signs Agreement with Swedish Public Health Agency    Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques Addresses Citizens and Muslims on Eid Al-Fitr    Custodian of Two Holy Mosques addresses Citizens and Muslims on the Advent of Holy Month of Ramadan    Ministry of Hajj and Umrah Launches Awareness Message on Sacrifice Day    Custodian of Two Holy Mosques addresses the Saudi people and Islamic nation on the blessed Eid Al-Fitr    Newcastle Beat West Ham 3-0 for their first Win of the Season    Mourinho insists Ibrahimovic must be good enough for Manchester United    Reforms have saved the economy from possible recession, say analysts    The King and Crown Prince congratulates Moldova's President    More than 1,5 million pilgrims arrive in Saudi Arabia, so far    MWL allocates SR 7 million for Eid sacrifice project in 47 countries    Saudi Campaign provides educational and training services for Syrians in Al-Za'tari camp    Saudi student goes missing in Kentucky, US    Harvey lashes Texas US coast with high wind, torrential rain    North Korea tests short-range missiles as South Korea, US conduct drills    Samsung leader Jay Y. Lee given five-year jail sentence for bribery    Known days    "MODON" Signs MoU with Chinese Goldwind Company for wind-turbines manufacturing in the Kingdom    Flyadeal, Saudi Arabia's new low-cost airline, scheduled to launch on September 23, reports    Mastercard launches Masterpass in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia    Honda among 27 Japan players named for World Cup qualifiers    Joker, Harley Quinn movie in works with 'Crazy Stupid Love' filmmakers    Madhuri Dixit to venture into Marathi films as a producer    Consumers warned against using some brands of face powder, hair products    How 'GOT' makers made the frozen lake in 'Beyond the Wall'    Shraddha Kapoor wants people to help the needy    Neymar targets improvement after phenomenal home debut    Politicizing the pilgrimage    Rakhi 2017: "Bond of Love" between a brother and his sister    

Thank you for reporting!
This image will be automatically disabled when it gets reported by several people.

Solar energy cheapest way of meeting power demand peaks in Middle East
Published in The Saudi Gazette on 03 - 07 - 2017

Energy Markets Economist, Bloomberg New Energy Finance
THE Middle East and North Africa region has seen electricity demand rise 6-8 percent annually for the last 10 years, which is among the highest growth rates in the world. To meet this demand, Middle Eastern countries have committed to major capacity expansion plans. In 2015, the UAE, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Kuwait, Bahrain and Oman collectively added approximately 7GW of net utility-scale power capacity.
Additionally, almost all Middle Eastern countries have been implementing energy-subsidy reforms in the last three years. The elimination of fuel and electricity subsidies in particular will help relieve the fiscal pressure that both energy importers and producers are experiencing, and it will also reveal the true cost of fossil-fuel electricity generation, facilitating the competition with renewables on an economic basis.
While renewable energy remains underdeveloped in the Middle East, countries in the region continue to make headlines with competitive tenders that set record-low solar and wind energy prices. For example, Dubai and Abu Dhabi's PV auctions logged $30/MWh and $29/MWh respectively in 2016, with the region's world-class resources, continuously declining costs of solar and wind systems and availability of cheap financing being among the most important factors behind these low bids.
Moreover, net importing countries (NICs) are pushing renewable energy development to diversify the import-dependent energy mix and address the power deficit. Saudi Arabia, the biggest power market in the region, renewed its commitment to clean energy by launching Vision 2030, a new roadmap for restructuring the economy from state-driven to private-sector led. Jordan has also made significant progress in opening its market and attracting interest from private developers, and the UAE's "green energy" commitment is supported by climate considerations and the paucity of domestic gas reserves.
Middle Eastern governments have prioritized investments in renewable power generation to meet rising electricity demand. By 2015, renewable energy investment had ballooned to almost 12 times its 2004 levels, despite the plunge in fossil-fuel commodity prices.
Between 2004 and 2016, almost $3 billion was invested in renewable energy in the region, with 90 percent of investments going into solar. Solar power investments notably topped $1 billion for a second year in 2016, totaling to $1.6 billion, which is almost 140 times greater than investments in 2014 ($11.2 million). Countries in the Middle East are also some of the hottest markets for solar thermal electricity generation worldwide, as it offers firm turbine-generated power and 4-12 hours of storage capacity.
Overall, Middle Eastern countries are prioritizing capacity expansion plans to meet rapidly rising demand for electricity.
There are, however, different challenges and constraints that they need to tackle to continue to spur growth of renewable energy:
Currency devaluation, bureaucracy, local content requirements and the lack of commitment on behalf of energy producers are the major challenges renewable energy is facing in the region.
The establishment of a solid regulatory framework and the restructuring of the power sector are major barriers to overall development in the region.
Energy-exporting countries still lag behind in the development of renewable energy.
Political instability and the risk of currency devaluation are major concerns for private investors; this leaves international institutions as the only source of financing available.
Renewable energy investments hit a record in 2015, despite the plunge in fossil-fuel commodity prices. The strong activity was mostly driven by solar installations, with solar thermal accounting for about half of it.
Middle Eastern countries are shifting away from feed-in-tariffs and towards competitive auctions, and they continue to set global benchmarks for solar and wind development. In 2016, Abu Dhabi led the way with a record low for PV prices at $29/MWh, and Dubai followed at $30/MWh.
The declining costs of solar and wind systems, coupled with energy subsidy reforms, are creating a new energy and economic reality in Middle Eastern economies. Today, a solar plant generates electricity more cheaply than a baseload gas plant in countries that import LNG. In countries that heavily subsidize fuel prices, solar energy is the cheapest way of meeting power-demand peaks.
Between 2004 and 2016, almost $3 billion was invested in renewable energy in the region.

Clic here to read the story from its source.