Can 2024 tip the balance for renewables in the Middle East?
Now Reading
Can 2024 tip the balance for renewables in the Middle East?

Can 2024 tip the balance for renewables in the Middle East?

After hitting record highs for added renewable energy capacity in 2023, can the Middle East capitalise on this momentum in 2024?

Gulf Business
Mubadala has invested in clean energy FY 2022 financial highlights

Last year was a landmark year for renewables, as a report from the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) highlighted a global expansion of 473GW of new renewable capacity added, representing 86 per cent of all capacity additions worldwide.

As for the Middle East, 2023 saw 5.1GW added, bringing its total regional capacity to 35.54GW.

There’s no question that the Middle East is eager to scale up its renewable energy capacity more rapidly. Doing so would also align perfectly with respective Middle East governments’ long-term strategies to economically diversify away from an over-reliance on oil-based wealth, while unlocking the environmental security benefits of decarbonising its energy sector. However, the crucial question – one that is repeated across the world – is whether these efforts are progressing fast enough.

Therefore, 2024 will prove a pivotal year in answering that question. COP28 was a galvanising moment for the region, particularly for host nation the UAE, as the international community committed to tripling renewable energy capacity to 11TW by 2030, while also hitting a new milestone in transparency on pledge progress by carrying out the first Global Stocktake. What remains to be seen is if the political will to scale up ME-based renewable energy translates into actual capacity rises with sufficient speed.

The early months of the year have already shown promise. From ACWA Power securing $2.3 billion in funding for 4.55GW of large-scale solar parks in Saudi Arabia, to UAE state-owned Emirates Water and Electricity Company (EWEC) pushing ahead with a new 400MW battery energy storage system (BESS), the range and speed of Middle East renewable projects makes for encouraging signals within region and for its global partners in both the public and private spheres.

Green hydrogen may prove to be a decisive factor in 2024. Much has been made of its potential to net the Middle East vast new revenue streams, perhaps in time enough to provide a handover of the baton from oil.

The IEA has said that global demand for green hydrogen could be utilised to provide another 13 per cent of extra renewable power capacity for the region by 2028, as Middle East governments stimulate its production and trade through direct investment and intelligent regulation. Given the Middle East’s optimal geographic location and ever-strengthening port infrastructure, the building blocks are already in place to make it a leading global player in the growing green hydrogen space.

Navigating the twists and turns of rapid development of hydrogen and renewable energy in general is never easy, despite the international consensus that the global energy transition must be achieved quickly.

Annual conferences such as COP and other leading platforms like the upcoming World Future Energy Summit, hosted by Masdar, will be essential for bringing all the relevant players together so they can develop the right strategies and partnerships to pull it off. As 2024 develops, both industry stakeholders and outside analysts will be able to see if momentum for the renewable transition is building, and how quickly it might be realised.

Masdar, MIDA to develop energy projects in Malaysia
Clean energy will be a key focus at the World Future Energy Summit being held this month from April 16 – 18 in Abu Dhabi.


You might also like


Scroll To Top