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–The six GCC countries are in the top 14 per capita emitters of carbon dioxide in the world.
–The GCC governments are aggressively promoting the renewables sector esp. Solar, Wind & Green Hydrogen.
-The rapid shift towards renewable energy to lower carbon emissions has given emergence to Green or Clean funding by Banks, PEs, and Investment Institutions.
Please brief our readers about your journey in the Renewable Energy field.
Over the past 30 years, I have worked in a variety of sectors – Real Estate, Media, Telecom, Petrochemicals, Diversified groups, and Oil & Gas. My shift to the Renewables sector was a conscious decision, almost like a journey of redemption. I have been passionate about Environment Preservation and was involved with the Wildlife Preservation Trust of Canada as a Board member from 1996 to 2002. My experience in Solar Power generation and working in the sector have grown in the last 9 months. On the finance side, it has afforded me an opportunity to come up with innovative options which will be actioned in the next couple of years.
How has the Renewable Energy sector evolved in the region over the last few years?
The demand for Energy has grown rapidly in the Gulf region over the last 10 years @ 8% a year and is expected to be 100GW of additional power in the coming decade. The six GCC countries are in the top 14 per capita emitters of carbon dioxide in the world; renewables offer a financially viable way to change that. There is also growing pressure to protect the Gulf’s fragile environment. Improving technology and growing competition have seen the cost of renewable energy drop dramatically. In some parts of the world, especially when compared to diesel generation, it is already the cheapest option. Furthermore, solar power generation fits very well with demand patterns where air conditioning dominates the electricity demand curve, particularly in GCC countries. Gulf countries are as richly endowed with renewable resources as they are with hydrocarbons. They benefit from strong regular sunshine, and the space to develop large solar power plants. The region also has significant wind resources, making renewables the ideal solution to their problems. The GCC governments are aggressively promoting the renewables sector esp. Solar, Wind & Green Hydrogen. Oman expects to generate 20% of its total energy consumption through renewable energy by 2027.
According to you, what is the future outlook of the RE sector?
According to a report from the IEA, Renewables 2019 published in November 2019, almost 33 percent of the world’s electricity is forecast to ome from renewables, with solar (PV) contributing almost 60 percent (about 700GW) of expected growth. Onshore wind (309 GW), hydropower (121 GW), offshore wind (43 GW), and bioenergy follow (41 GW). With the focus on Climate Change and ESG reporting, Renewable Energy is the future. The recent geo-political events have also brought forth Energy security concerns and a growing need for Self Reliance. I personally believe that future generations who are at the fore of the fight against Climate Change would resort to Renewables as a primary source of Energy in the coming decades. Hence, the future for the RE sector is secure, rather I believe tomorrow belongs to the RE sector.
How has the role of finance evolved in the RE sector?
Finance plays an important role in the development of any industry, over the years traditional financing methods were largely used for the RE sector, though over the years the importance of differential Energy Financing has emerged and is evolving. The RE sector needs to be evaluated in a specific manner to enable quick and affordable financing for the projects especially as it is a Capital-intensive industry, the payback would take time. The rapid shift towards renewable energy to lower carbon emissions has given emergence to Green or Clean funding by Banks, PEs, and Investment Institutions. As we see the finance function is evolving though there is a requirement for further development and growth.
How has technology contributed to the progress of the RE sector?
One of the main influences of improving technology in the RE sector is developing equipment with greater efficiency and lowering costs. The improvements in technology have also improved the functioning life of the equipment, thereby lowering the capital invested and as a result energy cost.