Are we really going green?

We're suddenly hearing a lot about renewable and clean energy.

London Array is a key renewables project.
London Array is a key renewables project.

There’s a bit of a green look about the August issue of Utilities Middle East. Not in the sense of the pages being green, but in the amount of coverage of the renewables sector.

Our feature on solar power was always on the feature schedule and when it came to writing it, we found no shortage of interest in the subject. Whether or not that will translate into actual projects on the ground remains to be seen.

Followers of the regional utilities sector will know about Shams 1 and the Mohammed bin Rashid Solar Park. Shams 1 is recognised as one of the world’s landmark solar projects, but elsewhere in the GCC solar projects are still very much in the idea and planning stages.

In the biggest market of all, Saudi Arabia, no utility scale projects have yet been tendered, although there is a publicly stated goal to build 40GW of solar capacity in the country by 2032.

It’s clear that solar undoubtedly has great potential for the sun-rich GCC, but it’s going to take some time before we see large scale deployments. With tenders set to be floated in KSA by Q1 next year and Qatar set to float the first of its projects in 2014, the next twelve months will be crucial.

Another big green thing in this issue is our report on the inauguration of the London Array, the world’s largest offshore wind farm, which has Abu Dhabi’s Masdar as one of its backers. Then, there’s Lebanon’s plans to tap methane from its decomposing waste mountains and use it to generate energy.

None of this means that coal, oil and gas-fired power stations are about to be shut down. It will be some time before wind, solar and even tidal form a significant part of the world’s energy mix. What it does suggest, however, is that the renewables bandwagon has left the station and momentum is building.


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