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The Middle East Institute organises webinars on relevant and current topics related to the Middle East region and their ramifications for Asia and the world. In this webinar, we will be exploring the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) and its initiatives in renewable energy.
Across the Gulf Arab states, the main drivers of this new focus on renewables have not been climate change goals (eg the Paris Agreement) as in the OECD countries. Rather it has been the need to keep up with growing domestic oil and gas demands for electric power grids while also increasing exports, and to free up fuel needed for downstream economic diversification projects such as oil-based petrochemical projects. The countries in the GCC are among the few countries in the world still using oil for power generation during peak demand in the summer months, which is a major loss in economic value as oil is far more valuable as a transport fuel and as feedstock for petrochemicals.
The purpose of the talk would be to assess the progress to date, the extent to which solar power can alleviate local oil and gas demand in the power generating sector (and hence release more oil and gas for exports in the future), the potential for this sector to promote new economic activity in the GCC countries’ diversification efforts and job creation, the potential for Asia-based companies to invest in this sector, among other questions. The UAE nuclear power plant coming on-stream, as part of non-oil and gas development, would also be part of the discussion.