Renewable energy could create over 200,000 jobs a year by 2030

Author: PM editorial | Date: 27 Jan 2016

Gulf nations could save up to US$87 billion on fossil fuels by lessening carbon dependence

If the GCC achieves its targets for renewable energy use, it could create over 200,000 jobs a year in the region by 2030.
 
The International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) has recently published a report called Renewable Energy Market Analysis: The GCC Region, which looks at the opportunities and barriers for renewable energy deployment in GCC economies.
 
Adnan Z. Amin, director-general of IRENA, said: “The transition towards renewable energy is creating a fundamental, long-term shift in the global economy. This shift can be expected to have a significant impact on fossil-fuel producers, including the oil- and gas-exporting countries of the GCC.
 
“The landmark December 2015 Paris Agreement, backed up with detailed plans by countries around the world to overhaul their energy sectors, could imply the eventual softening of global demand for oil and gas – the main drivers of local economies. But it also presents an exciting opportunity for economic diversification and entry to new markets.”
 
Exports of oil and gas have led to impressive economic growth and rapid development in the region. The GCC is estimated to hold almost a third of the world’s proven crude-oil reserves and about a fifth of natural gas reserves. However, the recent turbulence in the value of oil has led many to believe it is crucial the GCC diversifies sooner rather than later.
 
One commodity, other than oil, that the region has in abundance is daily hours of sunshine – making it very suitable for widespread investment in solar power. According to IRENA, Kuwait, Oman and Saudi Arabia would be particularly well suited to wind farms.
 
Increasing renewable energy use would come with a variety of benefits, including saving 400 billion barrels of oil in the power sector, saving US$87 billion in fossil fuel consumption, and reducing the region’s per capita carbon footprint by eight per cent by 2030.
 
Of the 207,000 new jobs a year that the report believes would be created, 44 per cent would be based in the UAE, 39 per cent in Saudi Arabia and 12 per cent in Kuwait.
 
The UAE is currently leading the way for the GCC nations in energy diversification. In 2014 it was capable of producing 134.9 megawatts of electricity through solar, wind and biomass energy. Qatar was a distant second with 28.2 megawatts and Saudi Arabia third with 25 megawatts.