The delegates attending the World Future Energy Summit as ppart of Abu Dhabi Sustainability Week on the 2nd day at ADNEC. Image Credit: Abdul Rahman/Gulf News

Abu Dhabi: The UAE energy strategy 2050 and Saudi Arabia’s plans to go big on renewables and nuclear energy were some of the highlights of the four-day World Future Energy Summit (WFES) that ended on Thursday.

Saudi Arabia announced on Monday they would be investing up to $50 billion (Dh183.50 billion) in renewable projects by 2023 to generate close to 10 gigawatts mainly from wind and solar plants.

“We will be launching in next few weeks, first to bid round of massive programme of 10 gigawatts of $30 to $50 billion by 2023. Some bid rounds will go in next few weeks. This will be primarily solar and wind,” Saudi energy minister Khalid Al Falih said at the summit.

Saudi Arabia also plans to invest in nuclear energy by building two nuclear reactors with a total capacity of 2.8 gigawatts. The nuclear reactor programme is in the early feasibility and design stage which will complement 10 gigawatts of renewable by 2023.

Energy companies reacted positively to development and said they are keen to invest in the renewable energy sector in the kingdom.

“As an international solar firm based in Dubai we believe the Saudi renewable energy market may present attractive opportunities for firms of all sizes and specialities to invest and develop projects,” said Martin Haupts, CEO of Phanes group, a Dubai-based International Solar Developer.

“However, with so much of their legal and regulatory infrastructure in flux, what is key to them achieving their short and medium term ambitions is their ability to offer predictability and certainty to investors.”

French utility company Engie with a major presence in the Middle East is also looking to be part of renewable projects in Saudi Arabia.

“We already took part in the bidding process for a 100mw solar plant in the kingdom and are planning to be part of future projects,” said Sebastien Arbola, CEO of Engie for Middle East, South & Central Asia, Turkey.

Apart from Saudi plans, UAE Energy strategy 2050 also dominated the sessions at the summit. The UAE is targeting 44 per cent clean energy, 38 per cent gas, 12 per cent clean coal and 6 per cent nuclear in the next three decades.

Energy minister Suhail Al Mazroui told the summit that they are confident of reaching the targets due to technological advancements in the renewable sector.

The UAE is planning to invest Dh600 billion to meet demands for energy and ensuring the sustainability of growth in the UAE’s economy that will result in savings of Dh700 billion.

Indian Minister of State with Independent Charge for Power, Coal, New and Renewable Energy Piyush Goyal also attended the four-day summit and said there are investment opportunities worth $1 trillion in India’s energy sector.

Opec (Organisation of the Petroleum Exporting Countries) production cuts also came up for discussion during the summit with Saudi energy minister Al Falih ruling out the possibility of extending the output cut deal beyond six months.