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“We believe that in the next few years, 80 per cent of the Middle East’s power generation will be fossil dominated, dropping to 75 per cent in the next five to ten years.
The demand on these plants is very high – if you look at Qurayyah in Saudi Arabia, which we were awarded recently, we’re talking about a 2,500 megawatt power plant. The biggest solar plant in the region at the moment is the Noor facility in Al Ain, which is 100MW, so you’d need 25 of those for the same generation.
But this is possible with PV – it is scalable, and it’s really a matter of logistics and maintenance. You’d need a huge plot of land to do it, and there is land available here, and you need to have the right coatings on the panels, but it is possible.”
Siemens Energy is also active in other areas of renewable generation, including wind power. Last year the company won contracts for offshore farms with a generation capacity of 1.4GW, and while Siersdorfer is confident that solar generation will be the biggest player in the regional renewables market, there is potential in the Middle East for wind.
“There are possibilities for wind power – there are good wind corridors and projects developing in Egypt, and also in Libya, Jordan, Oman and in Pakistan. According to the experts, Pakistan has one of the best wind corridors in the world from Karachi going north, and that’s something that hasn’t been utilised.
“Having said that, some of those countries are at the moment heavily impacted by circumstances that are difficult to predict, which is a limiting factor at the moment, but nevertheless I believe in these countries we will see business in the future and, having then implemented economic solutions there, it will spread to other regions.”
While the renewables market is a huge area of growth for Siemens, continuous development in the firm’s traditional generation offerings are forging new and more efficient technologies.
“The Middle East region is, and will remain, one of the biggest gas markets in the world,” says Siersdorfer. “I think that’s also a very good solution for the period of growing the renewables business, because natural gas is the cleanest fuel you can use at the moment.
At Siemens we have developed highly efficient technologies; for instance our flagship product, the 8000H gas turbine, which we are looking forward to adopting in the region, having sold it already in Korea and the US.
“Efficiency is something that is driving us in all our applications so whatever we do, we try to do in an efficient way, not only in terms of being cost effective but also for output of the energy. The H-Class technology was a huge effort over years and we’ve recently announced an initiative with Maersk to specifically adapt our technology for their needs.”
The partnership will see Siemens developing and building turbines for Maersk Oil’s TriGen clean power generation technology, which burns gas with pure oxygen to produce clean power, pure water and reservoir-ready carbon dioxide.
The agreement with Siemens will help to mature the TriGen technology to a stage where it can be used in wider commercial applications, and is a good example of the firm’s innovative trend-based development.
“You have to listen to your customers, and this starts with having some listening capabilities,” Siersdorfer explains. “As a global company we benefit from being able to adapt things which develop in other regions, and we have a very stringent development process.