Mideast second most popular region for renewable energy investment

May 17, 2020
Employees walk past solar panels at the Mohammed Bin Rashid Al-Maktoum Solar Park near Dubai. -- File photo
Employees walk past solar panels at the Mohammed Bin Rashid Al-Maktoum Solar Park near Dubai. -- File photo

By Matthew Amlôt

DUBAI -- The Middle East is the second most popular region for renewable energy investment after North America, according to a recent report from UK-based law firm Ashurst.

The region is home to some of the largest renewable energy bets in the world. The UAE, for instance, is currently developing the Mohammed Bin Rashid Solar Park, the world’s largest concentrated solar power project in the world.

“Considering the huge renewable energy resources available in the region it is not surprising that the Middle East and North Africa ranked so highly for current and future investment. Added to that, the record-breaking low prices of solar in the region make the technology incredibly attractive to developers,” said Ashurt’s head of Middle East David Charlier.

The report gathered data from over 2,000 senior business people in the Group of 20 countries that either work for energy companies, are investors in energy, service providers to energy companies, or have responsibility in energy decision making for other sector companies.

Around 26 percent of respondents to the survey in the Middle East said that they were presently investing in energy transition, marking the region as the most popular for current investment in renewables, while 11 percent added that they were considering investing.

In North America, the most popular region, 28 percent said that they were currently investing, with 11 percent stating they are considering investing.

Businesses in the Asia-Pacific and Latin America regions are the biggest investors in Middle Eastern energy transition projects, the report said, with 33 and 32 percent respectively reporting doing so.

Meanwhile, 37 percent of European businesses respondents are also currently investing the Middle East or have plans to so within the next five years.

“With large solar projects underway, like those in the UAE and planned in Morocco and Algeria, as well as the much discussed interconnectors to Europe, it is clear that global investors appreciate the low-carbon potential in the region despite it being the center of the world’s oil and gas trade,” Charlier added.

Global trends

Investment in renewables and energy transition projects across the world was on the rise, the report found. In the G20 countries, where the report was focused, 94 percent expect their organization’s investment in energy transition to increase within the next five years.

“It is indisputable that investment in renewable energy and decarbonisation technologies is on the rise. Although there are notable market variations, we see this as the dominant trend in the energy sector across the board. Across the globe there is significant pressure on governments, corporates and financial institutions to take action now,” said Ashurst's global co-head of power & utilities David Wadham.

Solar led as the most favored renewable power generation source among respondents, followed by hydroelectric, then biomass. -- Al Arabiya English

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