The future of renewable energy generation in the Gulf
Al-Monitor Pro Members
Dr. Karen E. Young
Senior Research Scholar, Center on Global Energy Policy, Columbia University
July 12, 2023
There is a global race to build clean energy infrastructure, and the Gulf states are excelling as key competitors in this race. Across Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) states, there are state-driven projects to generate nuclear energy for electricity, build new solar and wind power plants, and build new green and blue — meaning zero carbon and low carbon — hydrogen production facilities. There is an essential connection between developing renewable power to expand generation capacity and the goal of building out related industries and products that are by definition "green" or zero-carbon. All of these products will require a reliable and plentiful supply of electricity that is generated without burning gas, coal or oil. This is part of what strategists call a circular economy. And even within industries for oil and gas, there is an increasing use of renewable power to make the extraction cleaner, such that there is a way to qualify the carbon intensity of an oil and gas product as it goes to market. There is a critical need to reconcile regional goals for new energy products like green hydrogen production and industrial products like green aluminum with a realistic timeline of renewable electricity generation capacity.
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