About 40 years ago the OPEC (Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries) was born and the Middle Eastern countries really started raking in money from the oil that people had found in the previous 40 years. Ever since, countries have looked at the Middle Eastern nations for their massive demand of Oil and Oil products. The Image of Rich spoilt boys from Oil money roaming around the streets with Rolls Royce and Lamborghini’s was formed by all the expatriates in these countries who came looking for some of it.
The image of the middle east has been completely marked with Oil money and expansive behaviours, so much so that nations in the middle east used that OIL money to bring in more people from around the world to live in their nations, and in the process make the desert a place to have millions of people, all in all increasing their carbon footprints. As a matter of fact the United Arab Emirates where I live supposedly has the largest carbon footprint of all the nations in the world per person.
So much about the dark side, the brighter side is that the baby boomer generation in these countries are coming into decision making places and they are making the right decisions in changing the image of the middle east in general. From Abu Dhabi’s most talked about Masdar project which I had the fortune to work on (A small part) right up until visionary projects all across the middle east that are in the pipeling and will change the future of the Middle east from an Oil Powered nations to renewable energy nations.
For all those guys who would like to see proof here are some of the projects that are in progress in the Middle east that will really make a difference .. soon :
The world’s first city that aims at negative carbon emission is one of the most awesome entries in this list. Masdar, in Abu Dhabi has the potential to not only show was to the rest of the Middle East and the World, but also with its initiatives like the Masdar University and Sheikh Zayed Future Energy Prize they might just give gems of renewable energy as well as sustainability lessons to the world.
Desertec / Dii
Dii is a unique private industry joint venture that was launched as the ‘Desertec Industrial Initiative’ in July 2009. Desertec / Dii activities focus on power generation from the sun and wind in the deserts of the MENA countries and transmission to local demand and partly to the European interconnected grid. Dii will objectively investigate and identify suitable technologies for power generation and transmission. As a consequence, all field-proven, feasible technologies for sun and wind energy conversion and long-distance power transmission will be candidates for selection. This would for instance include CSP and PV technologies, AC and DC transmission and also different concepts for wind power. Dii aim at facilitating and encouraging investments in the framework of the Desertec concept, including knowledge transfer to the MENA area and the establishment of local industries.
The Algerian government had decided instead to develop its own flagship solar project. Algeria will do more with solar and expects to make a new town which is completely [powered by] solar electricity. To this end, the state-owned gas and power utility Sonelgaz would install 365 megawatts of solar power capacity between 2013 and 2020. The company planned to install the first 10mw of solar capacity in 2013 and to increase that to 50mw the following year. Sonelgaz planned to spend US$3.3 billion (Dh12.11bn) this year on expanding Algeria’s total power generation capacity and gas distribution network in order to ease energy shortages during peak demand periods.
Bharain Wind-Solar Pilot Power Project
Bahrain will announce next month the winner of a contract to advise on a pilot renewable energy power plant for the kingdom. As well as advising on the pilot project, the selected bider will conduct a feasibility and assessment study for renewable energy technology in Bahrain. The pilot facility is aimed at practical research to further the development of commercial projects. It is expected to be a hybrid wind and solar plant and it will be located on an island.
Millennium Energy Company in Jordan
Millennium Energy Industries, the Jordanian renewable energy developer, has taken the first step towards realising one of three solar projects planned for the Maan Development Area in Jordan’s southern desert. It has teamed up with the US engineering firm CH2M Hill to launch a feasibility study for a utility-scale concentrating solar power plant (CSP) proposed for the Maan Industrial Estate. The study would be funded by the US Trade Development Agency and would address the plant’s technical and economic viability, the companies said. It would also define an implementation strategy in partnership with Jordan’s government and other organisations. Although the technology has been proved on a commercial scale, only 679 megawatts of capacity had been installed worldwide last year, but another 2,000mw was under construction. Not much of that was in Jordan, or anywhere else within the Middle East.
Being in a position to not only produce for the local market but also export technology and knowhow is going to be the next Oil race. So, the renewable energy seems to be the correct direction to go for the Middle East Oil Giants. Interestingly, this is might be a renewal of the Middle East into nations that might just help the world rather than kill it with the carbon footprints.