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GORD collaborates with CESL to foster carbon neutral growth

GORD and CESL have announced a cooperation agreement to foster carbon neutral growth ...

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Ras Bufontas Free Zone achieves sustainability certification under GSAS framework

Ras Bufontas Free Zone has achieved green building certification under the Global Sustainability Assessment System (GSAS)

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Sustainability Pulse Volume 2 Issue 2


What is the Solar Energy Potential in the GCC?

Posted by GORD onJan 15,2017

Data from the World Bank shows that the GCC, and in particular Qatar, is now consuming more energy per capita than other industrial countries including the BRIC countries (Brazil. Russia, India and China).

This increasing demand on resource will obviously start to put a strain on the current supply grid and therefore alternative solutions are being sorted.  One of the main focuses in the drive to find renewable energy sources is the use of solar and photovoltaic (PV) technologies. Once considered too expensive, this field is now becoming cost competitive, and efficient in terms of output, as research continues to develop the productivity of PV cells.



What is the solar energy potential in the GCC?

According to International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA), close to 60% of GCC’s surface area has excellent suitability for solar PV deployment.  And developing just 1% of this area could create almost 470 gigawatts of additional power generation capacity making this field even more exciting.


Of course this shift away from greenhouse gas producing energy sources not only helps the region meet its commitments in terms of the Paris Agreement {link}, but also brings with it other environmental benefits such as the reduction of water used in the generation of energy compared to more ‘traditional sources’.


One of the other key benefits of renewable energy is the potential impact on the economy. Based on IEA data, hydrocarbon exports in the form of crude oil, petroleum products and other liquids and natural gas, have been the main source of government budget revenues in the GCC, constituting almost 80% of total revenue for the region’s governments in 2013. This dependence on one source of income and energy can only be sustainable for so long before demand outreaches supply. All of the GCC nations are now looking to a long term view of diversification away from hydrocarbons towards sustainable energy production in the region as part of their individual visions. Not only does this have the benefits of providing more economic stability, it frees up domestic energy production for export and will help create jobs – further supporting the economy.


Of course bringing solar power to the region is not without its challenges. The geographical local of the GCC makes it a natural candidate for solar power, however being located in a dry, dusty environment means that solar panels are more likely to degrade quicker than in other areas of the globe as well as the drop in efficiency caused by dust accumulating on their surfaces. This raises questions of how to keep panels clean without further stressing the region’s water supplies.

GSAS (Global Sustainability Assessment System ) the first performance based green building system in the MENA region developed by GORD, was launched in 2009 and is currently applied in GCC countries including Qatar, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia & Oman. GSAS promotes the use of renewable energy in built environment to reduce the use of energy produced by fossil fuels and hence reducing the CO2 footprint within Qatar and the GCC. Moreover, solar power technologies is just one of the areas relating to climate change and the sustainable built environment that is being researched by GORD Institute.

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