What the Future of Renewable Energy Looks Like in the Middle East

The Middle East is known as a region of great economic reliance on crude oil, a natural resource that is not only finite but also controversial in an era of climate change awareness. It should be noted that the five founding member nations of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) are located in the Middle East, and they all have looked into the growing demand for renewable energy resources.

The green energy revolution that favors energy production from solar, wind, and geothermic sources has not been ignored in the Middle East. The economic consensus in this regard is as follows:

* Many countries that depend on petroleum as a means of energy generation are implementing their own renewable energy projects.

* Oil-rich countries have recognized that the writing is on the wall with regard to clean energy adoption, and they do not want to be caught off-guard in the future.

A few decades ago, the idea of OPEC member nations pursuing solar and wind power projects would have been inconceivable, but this is exactly what sovereign wealth funds in Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, and Kuwait have been doing in recent years. To protect its main economic exports of oil and gas, OPEC has resolved to manipulate production in order to exert some control on demand and increase the price of crude oil closer to $100 per barrel; this strategy has not been as effective as planned, and part of the reason is because many petroleum-importing countries have been investing in renewable energy projects.

With the above in mind, it should not be surprising to learn that the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and other members of the Gulf Cooperation Council have also been using sovereign wealth, which comes from oil production and exports, to invest in solar energy projects and even development of advanced battery technologies to power vehicles. Ras Al Khaimah, one of the United Arab Emirates that do not benefit from oil reservoirs, is engaged in an ambitious project to add 1.2 Gigawatts of solar energy to its sovereign grid by the year 2040.

Energy attorney Amir Handjani, a board member of Ras Al Khaimah Petroleum PLC, has been following the investment trends in the Middle East with regard to renewable energy projects, and he has observed that many oil and gas companies in the region are leveraging their assets and pivoting to clean energy production. It makes perfect sense that these companies are investing in renewable energy; after all, they already employ experts in the field of energy production and utilization, and they have certainly have the financial means to fund projects.

There is a good chance that many of the wind turbines, solar panels, and batteries that will be purchased in the future will be fabricated in the Middle East or with financing from companies operating in that region of the world. The bottom line for the leaders of the global energy market is that they want to retain their leadership status; to this end, they are willing to make renewable energy investments.