GCC countries can maintain key role in global energy markets - GulfToday

GCC countries can maintain key role in global energy markets

A panel discussion is in progress at   the event on Wednesday.

A panel discussion is in progress at the event on Wednesday.

The International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) on Wednesday unveiled a report on the progress of renewable energy in countries of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC).

Renewable Energy Markets: GCC 2023 suggests that GCC countries can leverage existing resources to develop innovative renewable energy-based solutions not only to mitigate climate change, but also to diversify their economies, create jobs, and reduce environmental impacts of the energy sector.    

As COP28 is underway in the heart of the GCC, this report serves as a resource and reference point for policy makers, businesses and civil society in harnessing the region’s vast renewable resource potential.

At less than US cents 2 per kilowatt hour (kWh), solar PV is now the least-cost option for power production in the GCC, outpacing natural gas, liquefied natural gas, oil, coal and nuclear power. Plummeting generation costs and abundant solar and wind resources in the region open the door for innovative energy technologies, such as green hydrogen, to be produced competitively.  

“As the world ushers in a new energy era, the GCC region has a unique opportunity to maintain a leading role in the global energy market,” said IRENA Director General Francesco La Camera. “Momentum in the region builds, as GCC states develop increasingly ambitious renewable energy and hydrogen strategies and pursue the implementation of their net-zero commitments.”

“Renewables are now cost-effective in the GCC, with highly successful auctions resulting in world-record-low prices for solar. This is boosting the economic case and paves the way for the introduction of high shares of renewables in the electricity mix. Further sustained action is needed to translate ambitious targets into delivery on the ground.”

The report underscores a significant increase in the GCC’s installed renewable power capacity, from 176 megawatts in 2013 to over 5.6 gigawatts in 2022. However, renewables still only account for a negligible amount of the region’s electricity capacity, while end-uses continue to rely on fossil fuels.

Public investments in infrastructure and in value chains can further drive and enable the deployment of renewable energy and associated benefits, the report finds. It emphasises building on existing energy infrastructure, including enhancing regional grid interconnections and developing infrastructure to support end uses of renewables, for example in transport.  

The GCC countries need to play a larger role in achieving global targets, both domestically and internationally. Beyond national efforts, GCC countries are in a position to support the energy transition in developing countries through international collaborative investments in renewable energy.

IRENA is the lead intergovernmental agency for global energy transformation that supports countries in their transition to a sustainable energy future and serves as the principal platform for international cooperation, a centre of excellence, and a repository of policy, technology, resource and financial knowledge on renewables. With 169 Members (168 States and the European Union) and 15 additional countries in the accession process and actively engaged, IRENA promotes the widespread adoption and sustainable use of all forms of renewables in pursuit of sustainable development, energy access, energy security and low-carbon economic growth and prosperity.

Masdar: The first test flight to demonstrate the potential for converting Methanol to SAF (Sustainable Aviation Fuel) has taken place in Dubai on the sidelines of COP28 in the UAE. Masdar, TotalEnergies, the UAE General Civil Aviation Authority, Airbus, Falcon Aviation Services and technology licensor Axens all contributed to the successful flight.

The Alcohol-to-Jet Synthetic Paraffinic Kerosene pathway (ATJ-SPK) has been certified in 2016 as meeting international standards for jet fuel, however Methanol is not in the list of specified alcohols. The flight, which used a blend of aviation fuel made from olefins, will help support the certification of this new pathway for SAF production from methanol.

With the potential to be derived from renewable electricity, the new pathway could lead to eSAF, an essential lever to meet the challenge of producing SAF worldwide to decarbonise aviation.

Mohamed Jameel Al Ramahi, CEO of Masdar, said, ‘“The launch of the (Dubai Framework) for Sustainable Aviation Fuel, represented an important step on the path towards a more sustainable future in aviation. This test flight demonstrates the shared ambition of Masdar and TotalEnergies to advance the development of SAF and provide another option in ongoing efforts to decarbonise the aviation industry. SAF has huge potential for reducing the hard-to-abate aviation sector’s carbon emissions and Masdar is proud to support the development and growth of this sector. It is a sign of our commitment that we have forged several strategic partnerships in this area.”

Patrick Pouyanné, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of TotalEnergies, started, “TotalEnergies is delighted to have initiated this scouting effort together with Masdar. As industry and energy companies, our collective job is to work on the next generation of clean aviation fuels that could complement SAF currently produced from used cooking oil. This novel pathway to jet, through e-SAF, is critical to support the decarbonisation of the aviation industry.”


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