GCC to boost solar as regional electricity sector set to hit $22bn
The GCC is likely to speed up its solar energy conversion movement in the wake of lessons learnt from the depressed oil prices of the past few years, according to an industry leader, speaking ahead of next year’s Middle East Electricity 2019.
Murad Saygın, General Manager of Turkish solar power structure supplier, Tekom-Puk, maintains the super-energised solar drive will ensure the Gulf region reaches its 2030 target of a collective 4.6 GW PV in power generation as it emerges as a global renewables leader.
Speaking ahead of Tekom-Puk’s participation at Middle East Electricity 2019, the region’s power industry show, which runs at Dubai World Trade Centre (DWTC) from March 5-7 next year, Murad Saygın said the GCC’s solar sector is now widely viewed as “highly promising” and likely to scale up further.
“Being highly oil dependent economies, the GCC countries have been strongly impacted by the recent oil price drop, he explained. “To counter this, we believe they’ll focus investments in the renewables industry more than ever for upcoming years. It’s a constantly growing sector with highly promising potential. The UAE in particular will take action to focus growth from public to private sector, so that investors, developers and suppliers from the renewables industry will handle their projects without any time-consuming procedures.
“For the last several years, GCC countries have been fashioning a critical role for themselves in the global shift to renewable energy. Seeing the big picture from the global scale, the GCC market would likely reach its energy goals at the end of the next decade, which would make it the market driver.”
Tekom-Puk’s forecast is backed up by the latest MENA Power Industry Outlook prepared by Ventures Onsite, for Middle East Electricity. The in-depth report says renewable energy is expected to play a vital role in the GCC’s economic diversification plans.
“It forms a lucrative option for electricity generation capacity in the GCC, which has reached US$ 2.1 Bn in 2018 and is expected to be worth US$ 25 Bn in 2022,” states the report, citing increasing renewable deployment among the region’s policymakers, regulators and operators. The report adds that the GCC’s cumulative deployment and investment in renewables could reach US$ 16 Bn in 2020.
With all GCC countries now prioritising renewables, the UAE currently leads the way courtesy of mega projects such as the Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum Solar Park in Dubai, which is worth an estimated $968m, and the 1.2GW Adwea Sweihan plant in Abu Dhabi, described as the world’s largest solar power plant. As part of its ‘Energy Strategy 2050’, the UAE aims to generate 44% of its electricity from renewables by the middle of the century.
“The UAE’s ministry of energy is considering tendering 1,000 MW of renewable-based mega-projects each year over the next few years to meet its energy targets. The expected increase in electricity consumption in the coming years, coupled with the integration of a large share of renewables, clean coal, nuclear and waste-to-energy in its energy mix is expected to project the UAE as a hotspot for power sector development in the Gulf region,” says MENA Power Industry Outlook report.
Furthering its ambitions, the UAE has launched a lab to test artificial intelligence techniques for solar power. The Emirate’s Ministry of Climate Change and Environment, in collaboration with Khalifa University of Science and Technology (KUST) and the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA), are now working to identify solar energy locations. The lab will have three main systems featuring real-time maps of solar locations in the UAE: solar simulation, environmental monitoring and marine environment monitoring systems. Solar maps and simulations are likely to help determine the best locations for solar power within the country.
“The huge potential of the GCC, which is expected to require power infrastructure investment totalling US $109 Bn over the next five years, is generating unprecedented interest in the regional market which is reflected in Middle East Electricity’s high calibre and wide geographic exhibitor spread,” said Claudia Konieczna, Exhibition Director – Informa Industrial Group, which organises the long-standing industry event.
“Middle East Electricity takes the form of five dedicated shows within a combined mega-exhibition, with solar having its own dedicated segment due to its high potential. Solar at MEE is the largest gathering of this specialised sector’s professionals in the Middle East and Africa, offering the most effective trade focused platform to international manufacturers and distributors looking to meet regional buyers.”
Solar will also feature heavily in the comprehensive knowledge programme Informa Exhibitions is mounting to coincide with Middle East Electricity, including the much-anticipated Intersolar Conference.
HyNet North West and InterGen to build Zero Carbon plant
Expected to begin in the mid-2020s, the partnership could reduce the CO2 emissions from the Runcorn power station by over 150,000 tonnes each year, the equivalent of taking 60,000 cars off the road every year.
Situated across one of the UK’s largest industrial areas which supports the highest number of manufacturing jobs of any UK region, HyNet North West will bring clean growth to safeguard jobs, and create thousands of new employment opportunities.
Following a commitment of £72 million in funding, HyNet North West will transform the North West into the world’s first low carbon industrial cluster, playing a critical role in the UK’s transition to ‘net zero’ greenhouse gas emissions by 2050 and the global fight against climate change.
HyNet North West will begin decarbonising the North West and North Wales region from 2025, replacing fossil fuels currently used for electricity generation, industry, heating homes and transportation with clean hydrogen. The project will also capture and lock up carbon which is currently emitted into the atmosphere.
It anticipates that by 2028, Rocksavage will have enough hydrogen produced by HyNet to move towards a 100% net zero power generation power station as the Gas Turbine technology becomes available.
InterGen’s Rocksavage Plant Manager Dan Fosberg said Rocksavage has been safely generating energy to power the north west for nearly 25 years, but in order to meet the UK’s net zero targets, traditional generation needs to adapt.
"HyNet North West will allow us to pivot our operations as we transition to a low-carbon world. The proximity of the Rocksavage Power Plant to the HyNet North West hydrogen network provides us with an exciting and unique opportunity," he said.
As soon as the first stage of the hydrogen network is available at Runcorn, InterGen intends to modify the existing generating plant to consume a blend of hydrogen with natural gas and start to reduce our emissions.
The HyNet North West project milestones mean that Rocksavage could be the first plant in the UK to blend Hydrogen with natural gas, a step forward for the industry in the target for net-zero. Once the gas turbine technology becomes available, it will explore options with HyNet North West to create a zero emissions power station using 100% hydrogen.
The project will play a big part in supporting Liverpool City Region in its commitment to reach zero carbon by 2040 and accelerate the UK’s transition to net zero by 2050.
Steve Rotheram, Metro Mayor of Liverpool City Region, said: “Putting the Liverpool City Region at the heart of the Green Industrial Revolution is one of my top priorities. With our existing strengths in green energy, we have the potential to become the UK’s renewable energy coast.
“I am committed to doubling the number of green jobs in our region and exciting projects like HyNet will be a key part of that. We’re going to lead the way, not only in doing our bit to tackle climate change, but in pioneering new and innovative technology that in turn attracts more jobs and investment to our region.”
David Parkin, HyNet North West Project Director, said HyNet North West will play a big part in tackling climate change regionally. "It will ensure the region remains an attractive location for investment and for companies to grow through the establishment of a clean economy, protection of skilled jobs and creation of thousands of new long-term employment opportunities.
“Our partnership with InterGen at Rocksavage shows just how great an impact HyNet will have on the region – decarbonising homes, workplaces, travel and industry.”
HyNet North West is a low carbon energy project at the forefront of the UK’s journey to a Net Zero future, being developed by a consortium comprising Progressive Energy, Cadent, Essar, Inovyn, Eni, University of Chester, CF Fertilisers and Hanson.