Alternative energies sought in Gulf

Countries in the Middle East are actively exploring the use of alternative and renewable energy resources including coal, nuclear, solar, wind and hydrogen in a bid to meet rising power demands according to an industry expert.

Countries in the Middle East are actively exploring the use of alternative and renewable energy resources including coal, nuclear, solar, wind and hydrogen in a bid to meet rising power demands according to an industry expert.

"The vast majority of power generation projects in the Arabian Gulf are for power stations using conventional gas for their energy source, but the region is struggling to find enough suitable gas to meet future power demands and the first signs are beginning to emerge of major investment in the region into alternatives," stated David Weaver, group CEO of UK-based engineering, safety and risk management firm ESR Technology.

There are currently 114 active power generation projects in the Gulf Co-operation Council countries of Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the UAE worth a combined total of more than $160 billion (AED587 billion).

"The UAE is leading the way in looking seriously at alternative energy sources," said Weaver. "One of the major areas of study is nuclear. A nuclear programme study is to be carried out on behalf of Abu Dhabi's Mubadala Development Company and is said to have a budget of $4 billion," Weaver added.  "This project is not connected to the GCC's nuclear programme with the General Secretariat of the GCC budgeting $10 billion for the design, supply, build and operation of a nuclear plant for power generation and water desalination in a country yet to be chosen."

"There is also considerable new activity beginning in the renewable energy field, principally in the UAE," he added, citing the design study being carried out for a $500 million solar power plant for the Abu Dhabi Future Energy Company Masdar. A further project under study in Abu Dhabi reported Weaver is possibility of building a hydrogen fired power plant.

Meanwhile, a study is being carried out for Dubai Electricity and Water Authority (DEWA) for a $1 billion wind farm project to supply up to 10% of the city's power needs.

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