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New Energy World magazine logo
New Energy World magazine logo
ISSN 2753-7757 (Online)

Middle East plays catch-up on road to net zero

2/8/2023

8 min read

Rows of solar panels in lines in desert with a few palm trees in foreground Photo: Adobe Stock
The United Arab Emirates was the first MENA country to commit to net zero emissions by 2050

Photo: Adobe Stock

The Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region lags significantly in terms of renewable energy developments. But a raft of clean power initiatives are underway as COP28 beckons, hosted by the United Arab Emirates (UAE). New Energy World Features Editor Brian Davis reports.

Historically, the Middle East has the lowest share of clean power in its electricity mix of all regions worldwide. The MENA region’s utilisation of clean power was less than 5% compared to a global average of 38.2% in 2022, according to analysis by Ember-climate.org – suggesting a ‘disturbing’ indifference to climate change.

 

In 2022, thermal power (from coal, oil and gas) dominated the region and accounted for more than 90% of all energy consumption, with natural gas as the main fuel source.

 

According to GlobalData analysis, the Middle East’s energy transition continues to be ‘slow and piecemeal’ despite promises of large additions of renewable capacity in coming years. Although signs of energy transition are underway, fossil fuels are expected to continue to dominate. The analysts forecast that by 2035, thermal power will still account for 70% of total capacity, with fossil fuels accounting for 84% of the power generation mix.

 

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