Solar energy set to power GCC green recovery, decarbonisation strategy

Largest Solar plant

Opinion Editorial by Rajit Nanda and Dan Shugar

Solar energy seen as anchor to national renewable strategies

A green recovery is far more than an ambition or even an opportunity. It’s an absolute imperative for a sustainable social and economic future in the post-pandemic world. That’s the most significant takeaway from Abu Dhabi Sustainability Week 2021.

Government, business and civil society leaders across the globe are trying to anticipate significant social, geopolitical, economic and environmental shifts that will result from the global pandemic and there are many differing opinions. But one thing most agree on is that is that sustainability in all forms will take center stage and there must be a renewed public and private sector commitment to combatting climate change to mitigate risk of future severe public safety and disruptive economic threats.

Leaders across the GCC are clearly in synch on this and used the ADSW platform to reconfirm decarbonization pledges. The latest figures from the International Renewable Energy Association (IRENA) are that by 2030, based on the current national commitments and project plans, the region is on track to save the equivalent of 354 million barrels of oil through the deployment of renewables. That represents a 23% reduction in oil consumption that would come with it the creation of more than 220,000 jobs. It would also reduce the power sector’s carbon dioxide emissions by 22% while cutting water withdrawal in the power sector by 17%.

Despite the economic upheaval we saw over the past year, countries across the GCC continued to progress on commitments to realize national decarbonization goals. And that progress is being led by a greatly increased focus on solar energy as the anchor to national renewable strategies.

The UAE is an excellent example of this, where the nation’s zero emissions by 2050 commitment is heavily reliant on solar for future energy production.

Read full OpEd in Gulf Business, here.