IEA Finds Vast Solar Potential in Middle East, Africa

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"The region could generate 100 times the combined electricity consumption of MENA and Europe."

According to the International Energy Agency, concentrated solar energy (CSP) plants in the region could cater to 100 times the combined electricity consumption of MENA and Europe.

The Middle East and Africa region has excellent potential for the development of wind power and solar energy, and the UAE is set to lead it by setting up projects based on renewable energy, a report said on Saturday.

"There has been a strong political push to showcase the UAE as a leader in the renewable energy field. Abu Dhabi is planning to introduce a program of subsidies for solar power projects. The Department of Economic Development has been working on a framework for a subsidy system since at least 2008," according to alternate asset management company Al Masah Capital.

In its latest report entitled "Unlocking the potential of alternative energy in the MENA region," Al Masah Capital said the use of alternative energy has been critical to sustaining the economic growth of the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region with a large-scale shift in its energy supplies becoming imperative in the face of rapidly rising local energy demand, which in itself cannot be met due to the imbalance created by oil and gas exports.

While the shift from fossil fuels to renewable energy will require the construction of wind power, solar energy and other green installations on a vast scale, significantly altering the face of the region, green energy mandates are bound to transform the region's energy supply matrix in the near future.

"The biggest resource in the MENA region is solar irradiance with a potential to meet the total demand for electricity worldwide." Al Masah Capital concluded.

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