MENA Will Need 120 Gigawatts of Energy by 2017, Masdar Expert Warns

Masdar Institute, renewable energy in the MENA region, clean tech, solar power, Middle East and North Africa, Masdar Institute of Technology, Abu Dhabi The Middle East and North Africa region is going to need 120 gigawatts of energy by 2017, according to a leading figure at the Masdar Institute of Science and Technology (MIST) and board member of the Emirates Solar Industry Association (ESIA).

Dr. Steve Griffiths, Executive Director of Masdar’s Institute Initiatives told Albawaba Business that the United Arab Emirates will spend $250 billion in order to generate 20 GW by 2017.

He explains that renewable energy generation comprises an important part of this plan, though he is also blunt to say that it is crucial to develop progressive demand and supply-side policies that will promote greater implementation.

Currently energy and water subsidies thwart the UAE’s investment potential since consumers have no incentive to switch from oil to solar or to conserve what they have.

Dr. Griffiths says that the only chance to stimulate wider uptake of solar energy is to invest time and effort into gathering “site-specific, long-term data with high spatial resolution, adjusted for local climate conditions.”

“The UAE Research Center for Renewable Energy Mapping and Assessment (ReCREMA) at Masdar Institute can offer guidance in this area,” he told the paper.

Dr. Griffiths, who earned his PhD in Chemical Engineering from MIT and his MBA from the MIT Sloan School of Management, puts natural gas and nuclear energy side by side with solar energy as integral to the UAE’s overall renewable energy plan.

However, he also emphasizes that the Arabian Peninsula has solar insolation levels that put Germany to shame, even though the region’s solar generation pales in comparison to their northern competitor.

In other words, there is great potential for a solar industry that can sustain the Middle East and North Africa, but governments need to make it easier for them to get a foothold.

Alongside Saudi Arabia, the UAE is one of the few nations that takes carbon capture and storage (CCS) seriously;  the World Bank suggests rapid deployment of the technique is crucial if we stand any chance of staving off the worst of climate change.

:: Albawaba

3 thoughts on “MENA Will Need 120 Gigawatts of Energy by 2017, Masdar Expert Warns

  1. Prodeep Mookerjee

    The issue is direct and indirect energy subsidies that governments have their citizens ‘hooked’ on. This largesse is a de-facto, long-standing socio-political contract between states and the governed and underpins consumption growth and ‘progress’ . But cheap energy has gone for ever, the consumer doesn’t cover costs and fossil-fuel based energy technology has no real answers. This is a worldwide phenomenon.

    In the GCC, largely rentier states, the issue has reached a head since less and less of the the oil and gas wealth is available for ‘rent’. States with among the world’s highest per capita energy consumption rates (and growing), compounded by high population growth rates.

    What is the solution, if any?

    A simplistic scenario emerges – fission (and hopefully fusion) energy dominates the energy scene with the ‘alternative’ sector playing a transitionary role and finally occupying an adjunct market niche. Transportation moves to electric and hydrogen; hydrocarbons are exclusively used as feedstock for the chemicals sector and governments refocus on poverty and hunger, water and health, education and conflict resolution. Utopian? Perhaps.

    There isn’t really any alternative. The macro picture on a 20/30 time line is that human habitation (the biosphere) is under threat and global warming/ climate-change is recognised as a systemic phenomenon; complex multi-variable system changes are almost always exponential with ‘critical mass’ characteristics – when change comes it snowballs! Beyond a point ( and we should pray we’re not there yet) we will be able to do little but watch.

    The scientific community almost universally recognises today’s reality and it is hopefully a matter of time before the informed voices get sufficient cadence. The alternative is humanity’s ‘swan song’.

    Redesign Consult FZE
    Prodeep Mookerjee

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  2. JTR

    That’s only because human beings are dominated by their instinct to grow relentlessly, which is a huge mistake, made obvious by the worsening degradation of the global environment. To survive as a species we need to stop growing and live in peace and balance. Then the Earth will support us for many thousands of years into the future.

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  3. daniel berger

    Witt Technology will be able to furnish this energy and more from it’s gyroscope type flywheels which generate energy from any type of motion.

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