Renewable Energy in the Middle East to Surpass Fossil Fuels by 2040 2024-06-03
According to a recent study by Rystad Energy, renewable energy generation in the Middle East is expected to surpass fossil fuel-based power by 2040. The region's installed capacity for renewable energy will see a significant increase, with photovoltaic (PV) systems becoming the primary energy source. By 2025, PV systems are projected to supply more than half of the region's electricity, up from just 2% last year. By 2050, renewable energy, including hydropower, photovoltaics, and wind power, is expected to account for 70% of the total electricity generation in the Middle East, a substantial rise from 5% at the end of 2023. In the short term, the region will remain heavily dependent on natural gas, with its usage peaking in 2030. As of the end of 2023, fossil fuels dominated the Middle East's power market, comprising 93% of the total energy mix. However, driven by rapid industrial development, population growth, and global carbon reduction efforts, the Middle East is actively transitioning to renewable energy sources. The region's population exceeds 280 million and has grown by 60% since 2000, doubling electricity demand over the past 20 years. By 2050, electricity demand is expected to reach 2000 TWh, significantly higher than the current 1200 TWh. Despite this ongoing transformation, the Middle East still lags behind regions like Asia and Africa in renewable energy adoption. Europe has been leading this transition since 2019. Given that the residential sector consumes 40% of electricity, the Middle East faces increasing energy demand, necessitating a shift to renewable energy for long-term sustainability. The rapid growth in electric vehicles also indicates a surge in future energy needs. Photovoltaic power is becoming crucial in the Middle East's energy policies. Saudi Arabia's photovoltaic projects have achieved the world's lowest levelized cost of electricity (LCOE) at $10.4/MWh. The region has enormous potential for solar power, with annual solar radiation exceeding 2000 kWh per square meter in countries like Saudi Arabia, the UAE, and Oman. By the end of 2023, the installed PV capacity in the Middle East surpassed 16 GW and is expected to reach 23 GW by the end of 2024. Driven by green hydrogen projects, this capacity is projected to exceed 100 GW by 2030, with an annual growth rate of 30%. Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Oman, and Israel are leading the surge in photovoltaic deployment in the region. Saudi Arabia's Sudair photovoltaic project, with an installed capacity of 1.5 GW, is fully operational, bringing the country's total PV capacity to over 2.7 GW. The UAE aims to increase its installed PV capacity from 6 GW in 2023 to 14 GW by 2030, with renewable energy expected to account for 44% of its power mix by 2050. Oman plans to expand its installed renewable energy capacity from approximately 700 MW in 2023 to nearly 3 GW by 2025 and 4.5 GW by 2030, with the goal of becoming the largest green hydrogen exporter by 2030. These developments underscore the Middle East's strategic focus on a greener and more sustainable energy future.
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