Middle East renewables targets – weak or significant?

Put in perspective the current clean energy targets in the Gulf region are tame, but they promise to be the start of something much bigger.


Much has been made of renewable energy growth targets recently made by key Middle Eastern countries such as Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, and the United Arab Emirates. Clearly, when oil-rich nations start pouring money into renewable energy, a global energy transition is underway. However, it’s worth putting these investments into a bit more perspective.

Masdar recently commissioned a Frost & Sullivan white paper on renewable energy and clean tech within the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) – Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, and the UAE.

From that white paper, you can see the renewable energy targets of some of these countries or their leading states. 

Graph for Middle East renewables targets – weak or significant?

While it’s nice to see some renewable energy growth planned in this region; 1–10 per cent targets are hardly ambitious.

While this is not an apples-to-apples comparison (better would be investment per capita or per GDP or per electricity demand), the image below is interesting.

Up until 2012, investment in the Middle East and Africa region was much less than investment in other regions of the world. However, in 2012, investment shot up a bit, rising higher than investment in Central and South America. Let’s just hope that jump is followed by further jumps of a similar size or greater in the coming years.

Graph for Middle East renewables targets – weak or significant?

Hopefully that early success with renewable energy projects – creating jobs, cutting costs, etc. – inspires the countries to increase their renewable energy targets and growth.

This article was originally published by CleanTechnica. Republished with permission.

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