Wind farms, like this one in the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights, may soon be common in Syria.
About 90 percent of Syria’s electric power comes from thermal power plants fueled by heavy fuel oil and natural gas; and the country is now looking into using forms of renewable energy to provide its increasing need for energy. Various projects dealing with solar and wind energy, as well as bio mass as a fuel source, were mentioned in powergenworldwide.
Syria is a member of the 145 strong International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) group of which a number of Middle Eastern countries now belong. Projects dealing with renewable energy in which Syria is either currently engaged in or planning to be involved in include a proposed tender for two wind turbine parks to generate a total of 130 MW; a program to install solar roofs on kindergartens attached to government buildings; the installation of two kinds of solar water heaters in both private and public buildings, including the Al Mwassat Hospital in Damascus; and the installing of photo voltaic solar panels in rural areas, which already provide about 80 kwh of electricity.Some of these renewable energy projects are being done in cooperation with international companies like the Danish Vestas wind energy company, and the German company GTZ, which is already involved in joint renewable energy projects in India and Pakistan.
Syria is also working with the Regional Centre for Renewable Energies and Energy based in Cairo; and is seeking a “common platform” for energy supply in response to climate change.
According to the Center, Syria’s new master “renewables” plan will run to 2030. The tentative targets for the end of this period are:
- 1000–1500 MW of wind power
- 250 MW of biomass based plant
- 250 MW of PV plant
- 1 MTOE per annum of solar heat
Syria has a 5 year plan in which its National Energy Research Council, associated with the country’s energy ministry, will embark on projects costing $8 million USD. Although this is a small sum, it is nevertheless a start in the renewable energy direction. The two wind farms are to be built near the cities of Al Sukhna and Al Hijana, and will be constructed in a joint project with Vesta.
Although most industrial concerns in Syria are still state owned (a carryover from when Syria patterned itself after the former Soviet Union), more privatization is occurring, in the economic atmosphere being created by the country’s present leader, Bashar al-Asssad. This already accounts for more than two dozen manufacturers of solar water heaters alone.
Ukranian Kvazar Solar Panels
In addition to the wind farm projects with Vesta, Syria is also turning to Spain for investment in solar energy. In May 2010, according to SANA, the Syrian news agency Syria’s Minister of Electricity Ahmad Qusai Kayala visited a number of wind and solar plants in Spain, including Iberdrola, one of Spain’s largest utility companies and Gamesa.
Another recent joint venture involves the Ukraine and Kvazar, a solar cell and panel manufacturing company which has been in discussions with Syronics, a Syrian company, for several years. The idea here is for producing solar PV panels and cells. Spanish solar energy companies are already involved in several projects in the Middle East, including a solar PV feasibility study in Abu Dhabi’s futuristic Masdar City.
All round, sounds like good clean news.
Read more on Middle East regional renewable energy:
Jordan Makes Renewable Energy Education Available to its citizens
Lebanon Looks to Smart Grids and Renewable Energy to Reduce Energy
Israel’s Electricity Grid May Never Handle Renewable Energy Goals