Renewable Energy in the Middle East: A revolution in the making

Andrea Zanon Confidente
4 min readFeb 27, 2024
https://www.fxstreet.com/analysis/renewable-energy-in-the-middle-east-a-revolution-in-the-making-202402271722

The UAE, the 6th largest oil producer in the world was the first leading Middle East energy producer to host the Climate Conference of the Parties COP28. The global summit, attended by over 160 word leaders, was not only successful in bringing the decision makers together, but also succeeded in advancing 2050 NetZero negotiations (a near future with zero carbon emission). The UAE leadership is resulting in stronger climate mitigation actions and investment from energy producers. This new leadership is also based on a clearer understanding of the climate risk in the region, as MENA is one of the world’s regions most affected by climate change and variability (IAE 2023), both in terms of GDP losses and loss of competitiveness. This positive change is based in oil and gas rich Arab countries’ visions documents, aiming to diversify their economies away from hydrocarbons.

To illustrate the positive cleantech investment momentum further, investments by private equity, governments and investors in clean energy and technologies have surpassed investment in fossil fuels, as demonstrated in the IEA Energy Outlook 2023. With over US$ 3 trillion invested globally in energy in 2023, more than USD 1.8 trillion was invested in clean technologies, including renewables, electric vehicles, efficient grids, storage, low-emission fuels, and heat pumps (IEA 2023).

What about the Middle East? While the Middle East is still known as an oil and gas reliant region (in 2019 MENA 98% of energy supply was made up of oil and gas), MENA is fast becoming a leader in Renewable Energy. Renewable energy is set to account for about 15% of the region’s power mix by 2030, creating thousands of solar jobs in the process (Petroplan). Saudi Arabia and the UAE, the two most ambitious investors in renewable energy, aim to respectively produce 50% of their energy by clean sources by 2030 and by 2050. Solar energy will play the largest role in KSA as the country and international investors invest heavily in this competitive segment of renewable energy. One of the key manifestations of this investment trend in KSA, is the development of NEOM, the $500 billion smart city to be powered entirely by solar, wind and other forms of renewable energy.

--

--

Andrea Zanon Confidente

Performance advisor with over 20 years experience across entrepreneurship, sustainability and partnership. Now focusing helping people investing in themselves