Till 2020, the GCC population is expected to reach 53.5 million, a 30 % increase over the scale from 2000. In the same period, the region’s real GDP is forecasted to rise by 56 %. Also the nominal GDP, which was $341.6bn in 2000, is predicted to hit $1 trillion in 2010 and $2 trillion till 2020.
Currently the GCC countries are making great success in different strategies in order to expand the economic status in the long term. The strategy focuses on the introduction of energy-efficient measures with clean fuel investments and renewable energy supply to meet the population growth. On the table are also water efficiency, agricultural developments on foreign land and new water desalination capacity investments.
The Government of UAE considers the benefit of renewable energy and the back of the prices growth of hydrocarbon commodities. The union has to meet the rising demand for generated power with the aid of renewable energy. By 2020 the government plans to produce 7% of its electricity through alternative sources of renewable energy, while 25% will come from nuclear power and the rest 68 from natural gas. If this strategy goes into action, till 2030 UAE will save about $15 billion from power sources diversification.
According to the International Renewable Energy Agency, by 2030 GCC nations will have a $200 billion return from renewable energy integration. At present time, there are 30 projects in the region, which are in planning phase, completed or under construction.
The goal of GCC countries is to reduce the oil and gas dependency and in addition the diversification of energy sources for local purposes. The strategy is built not in order to keep the fuel wealth for the profitable energy export.
The Shams-1 solar park in Abu Dhabi, which worth about $600 million had been finally completed. Shams-1 solar park is on the biggest solar power parks worldwide and it is expected to start producing in February 2013. The World Future Energy Summit would take place in Abu Dhabi from 15 – 17 January and more than $8 billion international renewable energy and clean-tech projects will be presented at the event.
The first phase of the Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum Solar Park took place last October. The new power plant will lower the amount of natural gas being consumed for power-production needs. At the moment Dubai used gas for 99% of it local electricity output.
IRENA shared that Saudi Arabia is currently looking or investors interested in a $109 billion solar energy plan. By 2032 the project is expected to provide 33% of the annual needed electricity. Saudi Arabia put large investments in power production from solar sources. 10% higher water desalination by renewable energy is another aim of the kingdom till the end of 2020. The country also plans to put money in new exploitation developments of solar and wind energy in the GCC.
Qatar is developing a solar energy project, which will output 16% of the total electrical production till 2018. The country started a joint-venture with Chevron and launched the fist test phase of desert-based solar park, reported IRENA.