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Abstract

The harsh climate of GCC, rapid industrialisation and energy subsidies have led to a per capita energy consumption that is much higher than the larger economies of the US, China and the EU. The situation is likely to become worse as more electricity, desalinated water and gasoline will be needed to fuel the ambitious national plans for industrial and economic growth. Localised shortages of natural gas already exist, and the long term viability of a fossil fuel based economy is being discussed at different levels of decision making. Therefore, in order to diversify their energy mix, increase energy security, and save the national fossil fuel sources for export, the GCC countries are setting up targets for deployment of renewable energy (RE). The objective of this paper is to analyse the impacts of these targets on the CO2 emissions and fuel savings. The paper addresses commitments of the GCC governments to their diversification targets by reviewing their recent efforts in renewable energy project implementation, investments in local RE industry, institutional developments, and support to research institutions. Based on the national renewable energy targets for 2020 and 2030, the paper estimates the impacts of the diversification of the GCC energy mix on CO2 emissions and fuel savings. The monetory value of these savings is also estimated based on assumptions of future carbon and fuel prices. Some of the GCC countries have already defined their choice of renewable energy technologies, for others, we develop a potential RE mix comprising of solar, wind and waste to energy technologies. Our findings indicate that the implementation of the RE targets in the GCC can result in very large cumulative CO2 emission savings and fuel savings. The opportunity costs from fuel savings alone would be substantial. In addition, our work shows that the renewable energy targets of the GCC governments are backed by practical efforts that include RE project development, local industry support and domestic capacity building programmes. Successful implementation of these national targets can result in significant savings of valuable fossil fuel resources while significantly reducing the per capita carbon footprint of region.

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/content/papers/10.5339/qfarf.2013.EEO-09
2013-11-20
2020-11-30
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