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Saudi Arabia, Qatar to become, well, the Saudi Arabia of solar power

solar-concentratedGulf riches could supercharge concentrated solar, REneweconomy,  By Giles Parkinson   10 December 2012 The concentrated solar power (CSP) sector is expected to finally spring to life – and begin its long-awaited journey down the cost curve – as the oil and gas-rich Gulf nations deploy their massive sovereign wealth in solar technologies.

At the climate change talks in Doha, both Saudi Arabia and the host country Qatar reinforced their intentions to invest tens of billions of dollars into large-scale CSP – which includes solar thermal and concentrated solar PV technologies. The biggest oil and gas exporters in the world want to become, well, the Saudi Arabia and Qatar of the solar industry too.

Saudi Arabia intends to spend $110 billion on installing more than
41GW of solar over the coming two decades, including 25GW of CSP –
aware that replacing its oil-based power plants will free up more
crude to be exported into the international market. Qatar intends to
build 1.8GW of large-scale solar by 2020 and has a 30 per cent
renewables target by 2030. Much of this will come from CSP – and the
first pilot plants featuring parabolic trough technologies were opened
last week to coincide with Doha.

They are not alone in the Gulf region. Abu Dhabi was the first mover
in this space, taking $15 billion out of its sovereign fund to invest
in solar. It recently opened its 100MW Shams 1 CSP plant, has built
the futuristic Masdar clean energy city, and is the home of the
International Renewable Energy Agency. Dubai is building a 1GW solar
park, and Kuwait, which already has a 50MW CSP facility, is aiming for
15 per cent renewables (almost all CSP) by 2030.

“The Gulf has oil and gas, and it has the sun,” one UAE official told
me this week in the Gulf pavilion at Doha. “And oil and gas are

Indeed, in the final days of the conference, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, UAE
and Bahrain, said they had pledged to reduce their carbon emissions,
as part of a plan to diversify their economies away from fossil
Australia has proved unable to construct the right incentives – or political will – to construct CSP plants, and most other developments are occurring in China, South Africa and India.

CSP is considered critical if any of the 100 per cent renewable energy
scenarios are to be implemented, because it has the ability to add
storage and provide “dispatchable” energy – allowing it to smooth over
and fill in the gaps between intermittent sources such as wind and

It is considered by some to be expensive, but last week IRENA released an assessment that suggested CSP costs per could be around $140-$180 a megawatt-hour in areas of the best solar resources – such as the Gulf states and Australia, and technologies such as solar towers have the greatest potential for further cost reductions. (That is around half
the recent cost assessment of Australia’s Bureau of Resource and Energy Economics).

Further deployment will push the technology further down the cost
curve, just as Germany’s incentive caused PV costs to fall
dramatically, and Gulf money could provide that incentive. Many
developers see their ultimate cost of energy below $100/MWh, as we
have reported here and here……

December 10, 2012 - Posted by | MIDDLE EAST, renewable, Saudi Arabia

1 Comment »

  1. […] while Kuwait, which already has a 50-MW CSP facility, is aiming for 15 percent renewables by 2030, Nuclear News reported. Saudi Arabia is planning on spending $110-billion on over 41GW of solar over the next 20 years, […]

    Pingback by WITH Middle East Oil Addiction Disaster LOOMS | Ekocity Media's Engineering News | March 16, 2015 | Reply

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