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Sunshine-rich Gulf slow to adapt solar, clean energy

The share of renewables in Gulf states’ electricity generation is marginal, and the region still utilizes fossil-fuel driven power grids, but the potential for clean energy is substantial.
This picture shows a view of electricity transmission towers, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, Dec. 18, 2018.

Electricity consumption in the Gulf region is reaching its annual peak as armies of energy-intensive air conditioners work at full throttle to insulate populations from extreme summer temperatures endemic to the vast stretches of the Arabian Desert. In June, the Kuwaiti city of Nuwaiseeb recorded the hottest temperature on earth for 2021, 53.2 degrees Celcius.

In the background of the pleasant breeze that cools down houses and offices lies polluting power plants fueled by natural gas and oil; despite the Gulf region having the world's lowest solar tariffs and the International Energy Agency (IEA) noting that solar projects now offer the lowest cost electricity ever seen. In 2018, plants that burn oil to produce electricity generated over 40% of Kuwait's and Saudi Arabia’s power, about 14 times the world’s average.

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