The joint goal to build solar energy plants with a combined generation of 1,000 MW capacity should result in power for up to 200,000 homes, writes Bloomberg.
This project is not related to either the UAE’s other solar energy developments, including the impressive Shams 1 CSP plant, or Saudi’s ambitious intention to spend up to $100 billion to lift itself out of the ranks as one of the less solarized Middle Eastern nations.
Instead, the Kingdom and Emirate are seeking grants and loans to help finance the project, which will bring solar power as far afield as the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan. And it can’t happen a second too soon.
While Gulf countries have cash at hand to bring more renewable energy on board to combat global warming, climate change, pollution and all other environmental, economic and social ills associated with fossil fuels, other countries in the region are not as solvent.
This includes Jordan, which nonetheless strives to reduce its long-term independence on foreign sources of energy to ensure its citizens have access to electricity.
Meanwhile, the government recently passed legislation mandating that all new hot water systems must be solar-powered to reduce existing loads with small interventions.
Those regulations came into effect in April this year. But large scale installations are harder to enforce, and definitely harder to fund.
Like big brothers to smaller Jordan, which has kept its nose pretty clean throughout regional upheavals despite the enormous pressure they face with an ongoing influx of Syrian refugees, Saudi and the UAE will rely on their former energy expertise to ply a pioneering path lined with geothermal, solar and wind energy plants.
“The Saudi market already has an attractive framework for building and funding traditional power plants, and liquidity is ample in local banks,” Steve Mercieca, the Dubai-based chief executive officer of the Clean Energy Business Council told Bloomberg.
“Appetite is going to be substantial” for the funding of such projects, he added.
Already investment in the region’s renewable energy developments nearly doubled last year, according to the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA).
“Regional investment topped US$2.9 billion in 2012, up 40% from 2011 and 650% from 2004,” according to a recent IRENA press release.
“With over 100 projects under development, the region could see a 450% increase in non-hydro renewable energy generating capacity in the next few years.”
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