Business | General

Renewable energy on the rise in the world

In 2011, $257b was invested in renewable energy facilities worldwide, a 17% increase from 2010

  • By Shehab Al Makahleh, Staff Reporter
  • Published: 18:11 April 20, 2013
  • Gulf News

  • Image Credit: WAM
  • Shaikh Zayed solar project in Mauritania. The new facility will help produce 10 per cent of the country’s energy as Mauritania depends heavily on oil to generate electricity.

Abu Dhabi: Renewable energy constitutes 18 per cent of global energy consumption, a trillion dollar industry and global energy consumption is on the rise, Adnan Ameen, Director-General of the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) told Gulf News.

“The renewable energy industry has increased by 17 per cent in 2011 and will continue increasing with China, India and USA increasing dependence on wind capacities such as the wind turbines installed in China in 2012 to produce 13 GW of power,” said Ameen.

He added that in 2011 more than $257 billion (Dh943 billion) were invested in renewable energy facilities worldwide, a 17 per cent increase compared to 2010.

Renewable energy has become economically viable solutions to improving energy security and access as it helps developing nations insulate themselves from volatile fuel prices, said Ameen.

Ameen said that in many developing countries, biomass is used as a source of energy and in some charcoal is used to produce energy indoors. “Renewable energy in such countries will mitigate indoor pollution, save the environment and provide job opportunities as well,” he said.

On the recent project in Mauritania, Ameen said that the inauguration of the Dh117.5 million ($31.99 million) Shaikh Zayed Solar Power Plant, a utility-scale, 15-megawatt solar photovoltaic (PV) facility in the capital Nouakchott represents a big assistance to the Mauritanian people.

Reduce cost

“The new facility will help produce 10 per cent of the country’s energy as Mauritania depends heavily on oil to generate electricity. More than 40 per cent of the country’s power comes from oil, this facility will help reduce the cost and will provide more than 10,000 houses with power to displace approximately 21,225 tons of carbon dioxide annually,” Ameen said.

“Most of the country’s electricity is generated from diesel generators. And since Mauritania has some of the highest solar radiation levels globally, this has made it an ideal place for solar power installations,” said Ameen.

Amin said that the decision to build such a photovoltaic power plant in Mauritania was a right one on the right time.

The 15-MW solar photovoltaic project will supply electricity to meet the increase in demand for power which is estimated at 12 per cent as the country is currently facing energy shortages and has a low electrification rate of 60 per cent.

Ameen said that Masdar has many other large and small-scale power projects around the world in Europe, Africa and the UAE.

Alleviate poverty

He pointed out that the UAE has a long history of reinvesting its hydrocarbon wealth into helping developing countries promote economic development and alleviate poverty.

“The UAE is enabling economic growth across developing nations. It has other projects in eastern and southern parts of Africa to help provide people with clean energy,” remarked Ameen.

He pointed out that Masdar has helped these countries and will launch some renewable facilities in Africa throughout this year, particularly in African refugee camps.

“Masdar is working hand in hand with United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) to provide refugee camps with electricity in eastern and southern parts of Africa by end of 2013,” Ameen said.

He pointed out that the acceleration and adoption of renewable energy is part of the UAE’s commitment to the developing world.

Facts about Masdar projects worldwide

Masdar continues to invest in renewable energy projects throughout the world. The company has several international projects that are either completed or under construction, including:

•The London Array is expected to be the world’s largest offshore wind farm, generating up to 1GW of electricity in the United Kingdom.

•Gemasolar is a concentrated solar power plant in Spain, producing 20MW of electricity 24-hours a day through the use of innovative energy storage technology.

•Valle 1 and Valle 2 are concentrated solar power plants in Spain, each producing 50MW of electricity.

•The Seychelles project is an 8-turbine, 6-megawatt wind farm that will supply 10-15 percent of Mahe Island’s installed capacity.

•Shams 1 is a 100MW concentrated solar power plant in the western region of the Abu Dhabi emirate. When complete, the plant will be able to generate enough electricity to power 20,000 homes.

•A project in Afghanistan will supply 600 residences with off-grid solar PV systems.

• A 500-kilowatt solar photovoltaic power plant on the island of Vava’u in the Kingdom of Tonga

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