Renewable energy deployment in the region can be accelerated through research and development (R&D) and skill development by Gulf-based institutions like Qatar Foundation, the International Renewable Energy Agency (Irena) said in a report.
In its Renewable Energy Market Analysis for the GCC region, Irena said aside from Qatar Foundation, other key institutions for research and innovation include Kuwait Institute for Scientific and Research, Sultan Qaboos University in Oman, and Saudi Arabia’s K A CARE and King Abdullah Petroleum Studies and Research Centre.
According to the report, the creation of institutions that can take the lead on energy research has been a centre piece of the overall sustainable energy strategy. These, the report added, contribute to the development of local centres of expertise to inform and advise policymaking and industrial diversification.
Irena reported that most of these institutions combine research on supply and demand-side solutions, including fossil fuel-based energy, energy efficiency, and alternative energies.
Citing the UAE’s Masdar project, which includes Masdar City, Irena said the project represents a systematic approach towards creating a special knowledge cluster focusing on the development of sustainable energy solutions.
The report also said that interest in renewable energy in the GCC “has been on the rise” in recent years. With the region’s consumption expected to continue growing “at a fast pace” over the next two decades, renewables have become an important consideration in government strategies to diversify the domestic energy mix, Irena said.
Irena further noted that the steadily improving cost competitiveness of renewable energy technologies has become an important driver of deployment in the GCC, in particular for solar PV (photovoltaic).
In Qatar, Qatar Solar Technologies (QSTec) announced in March the production of its first polysilicon, the key raw material used in 90% of the world’s solar modules, marks a major step forward for the Middle East and North Africa (Mena) region’s solar industry.
QSTec announced that it successfully began operations at its manufacturing facility at Ras Laffan Industrial City.
The new facility also has a 1.1MW solar installation that includes a ground mounted solar farm with over 4,000 solar modules, as well as rooftop and solar car parking shades and is a showcase of sustainability.
QSTec is the largest polysilicon producer in the Mena region with a plan to expand to over 50,000 metric tonnes per annum (MTPA) from the current 8,000 MTPA.
In recent years, several GCC countries have announced plans and devised strategies for conserving natural resources, improving energy efficiency, and deploying renewable technologies, Irena’s report also said.
Source: Gulf Times
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