The status of renewable energy in the GCC countries
Alnaser W.E., Alnaser N.W.
SourcetitleRenewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews
Due to the vast growth of development in the infrastructure and investment in energy, the electricity consumption in the GCC countries had increased at a fast rate; 12.4% from 2005 to 2009 (3.15%, annually). This rate is much larger than the world average, which is 2.2% for the same period, or USA (0.5%). In 2005, the average Watt per person in the GCC countries was 1149 which is much higher than the world average (297 W per person) or the European Union (700 W/person) - but less than USA (1460 W/person). The GCC countries need to increase its electrical capacity by 60,000 MW, which represents 80% of the current installed capacity, to meet demand in 2015. This means that there is a need to build 50 more gas fired power generator plant turbine (each rated 1400 MW). The GCC countries have realized that depending on gas will not be the solution due to shortage of resource or environmental impact, particularly the GHG emissions. Therefore, they thought back of using renewable energy resources - after lifting it over in 1990s. They also thought of diversity in electricity production where nuclear energy comes to the picture. The power capacity in GCC countries is at around 75,000 MW, a projected 9.5% growth in annual demand will require more electricity and energy projects; expected to invest USD 200 billion to 250 billion in between 14 and 20 energy projects by 2020. The paper lists the major renewable energy projects (mainly solar and wind) in each of the six GCC countries. The total capacity of these projects exceeds 600 MW. Among these projects is the establishment of the first zero emission house (Green house) in the middle east (7 kW solar, wind and fuel cell) constructed in Bapco residence town (Awali) in Bahrain and therefore, been highlighted more in this paper. Moreover, nearly all GCC countries are planning to construct PV plants with large capacity. Also, several projects in Building Integrated Photovoltaic and Building Integrated Wind Turbines are established in GCC countries. The projects made in the GCC countries allow researchers and investors to size the cost of kWh from thermal, PV and wind energy more precisely. For example, it was found that the cost of kWh from large grid connected solar thermal plant (20 MW) - with cost of USD 72.5 million and energy - is US � 12/kWh (assuming a life time of 40 years and a discount rate of 4%) while, the cost issue of kWh from PV Electricity (in the GCC countries) is ranging from US � 27 (for ground mount) to US � 35 (for roof mount) as it was deduced from two actually installed project PV in UAE - a GCC country member. Meanwhile, the cost of 1 kWh from wind electricity in the GCC countries may be from US �10 (large turbine ?2 MW at 80 m height with good wind speed) to US � 15 (for large turbine ?2 MW at 80 m height with modest wind speed) while the cost of kWh from grid connected Wind farm plant (20 MW) - with a cost of USD 38.6 million and energy - is US � 6.7/kWh to US � 8.8/kWh, depending on the location of wind farm. This makes it very challengeable for investor, government (Feed-in-Tariff) and citizens because each citizen in GCC countries pays only (US cent 1 for each kWh, for consumption less than 3000 kWh, or even nothing for citizens-like in Qatar). � 2011 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.