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MENA countries to splurge $10bn on smart grids

Huge investments will help incorporate solar power, report says.

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GCC, Smart grid, News

Middle East and North African (MENA) countries will splash out billions of dollars over the next decade to upgrade their power infrastructure and add solar power generation.

Spending will include $9.8 bn on smart grid technology by 2024 to enable the incorporation of $27.9bn in solar resources, according to the latest research report from North East Group.

MENA countries can save between $1 bn to $3.5 bn per year by redirecting domestic energy consumption towards exports.

"MENA countries are taking a two-pronged approach to addressing their power sector challenges," said Ben Gardner, president of Northeast Group.

"The first is the installation of over 26 GW of solar capacity by 2024, led by Saudi Arabia. This will allow them to reduce their reliance on oil and gas power generation.

“The second approach is to deploy smart grid infrastructure that will help incorporate this solar power, enable better electricity demand management and improve reliability."

Smart grid activity is picking up throughout the region with wealthy Gulf countries looking to better manage electricity demand, the report says.

Countries such as Jordan and Lebanon are seeking to reduce electricity theft. Finally, countries from Morocco to Saudi Arabia are aiming to manage the intermittency created by increased use of solar power.

"The MENA region has a number of diverse drivers and will benefit from a wide range of smart grid infrastructure," added Gardner.

"Smart metering is the leading segment, but distribution automation will also be very important for these countries. Furthermore, 'smart city' initiatives around the Gulf are demonstrating advanced smart grid and renewable energy applications."

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