Renewable energy sources
An emergence of interest in RE can clearly be witnessed today in the GCC. Abu Dhabi has taken the lead, with the first wind energy project in the GCC on Sir Bani Yas Island; the development of Masdar City, the world’s first carbon-neutral, waste-free city that relies completely on RE and reused water; and its plan to raise solar power to 1500 MW. In fact, Abu Dhabi is fast positioning itself as a hub of solar power capability and expertise; this fact is internationally recognised by the recent selection of Abu Dhabi as the interim headquarters of the new International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA). In the same direction, the Saudi Oil Minister Ali Naimi declared publicly the Kindom’s ambition to make KSA a centre for solar energy research, so that “hopefully over the next 30 to 50 years we will be major electricity exporters”. Interest in RE, to a more modest extent, is also manifested in the other GCC countries.
GCC countries have indeed a huge potential for RE (mainly solar). In a well documented study by DLR, “MED-CSP”, it was shown that the potential for concentrated solar power (CSP) in the GCC countries is several orders of magnitude above the energy demand of these countries. Other renewable energy technologies (wind, PV) can also contribute significantly to the energy balance of GCC countries. Interesting applications include also hybrid (wind + diesel) power generation units.
However, despite important speeches and a few show-case activities (though this is a good start and should be acknowledged) little real effort is being deployed for implementation of large scale renewable energy technologies in the GCC, especially if one considers the potential these technologies have in these countries.
Europe has in recent years achieved world leadership in many renewable energy technologies. Increasing cooperation between European and GCC research institutes and companies in research and development of clean and renewable energy sources particularly adapted to the GCC environment will surely help to promote the more widespread deployment of these promising technologies and thus cost effectively diversify GCC energy systems. This will contribute to embark into a more sustainable development path for GCC countries.
The Discussion Group consists of a number of selected qualified experts from the EU and the GCC regions with proven professional and/or research record in the specific field, thus capable of contributing and participating in collaboration activities including:
- know-how and technology transfer,
- policies discussion,
- examination of state-of-the art technologies,
- best practices discussion and promotion,
- research collaboration,
- dissemination and promotion of relevant demonstration projects, and
- facilitation and promotion of relevant EU-GCC cooperation initiatives and projects.
Members of the Discussion Group will be able to follow closely the group activities that are launched. Indicative benefits include:
- invitation for participation in thematic working events, network meetings, training seminars as well as web-meetings, and
- personal account in the private experts collaboration Area within the Network web-platform.
- Dr. Marcelino Sánchez, Director, Solar Thermal Energy Department, National Renewable Energy Centre of Spain, Spain
- Dr Rabia Ferroukhi, Senior Policy Officer, IRENA
- Carsten Hoyer-Klick, Project Manager, German Aerospace Center, DLR, Germany