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Middle East's Green Hydrogen Revolution

17 Mar 2023

Middle East's Green Energy Revolution: Massive Plans for Green Hydrogen and Innovative Technologies

The Middle East is rapidly transitioning towards a more sustainable future, with the region's leaders taking ambitious steps towards decarbonisation and diversification of their economies. With a long-established oil and gas industry, the Middle East is perfectly positioned to become a global leader in the development of green energy projects, including green hydrogen, solar and wind power, and innovative green technologies.

Greenfield projects are now emerging across the region, with major investments in research and development leading to significant advancements in renewable energy. The Middle Eastern renewable energy market is expected to achieve a CAGR of 13.43 percent between 2019 and 2028, as countries across the region strive to increase their share of the global low-carbon hydrogen market.

The Abu Dhabi National Energy Company (TAQA) and Masdar, both state-owned Emirati companies, are at the forefront of this green energy revolution. Together, they own 60 percent of the Al Dhafra Solar Project, a 2GW capacity solar farm that will provide enough electricity for 160,000 households. The project is set to come online ahead of COP28, with a consortium of EDF Renewables and China's Jinko Power Technology owning the remaining 40 percent. The companies aim to create 4,000 jobs through the project, highlighting the potential for renewable energy to support sustainable economic growth.

Meanwhile, Saudi Arabia is accelerating its solar energy projects, with the 1,500-MW Sudair Solar Power Plant in Riyadh and the Manah I & II solar power facilities in Manah leading the way. The country aims to generate 50 percent of its energy from green sources by 2030, with investment in carbon capture and storage (CCS) technologies helping to decarbonise its oil and gas operations. These ambitious plans demonstrate the potential for the Middle East to become a major player in the global green energy market.

Innovative green technologies are also driving progress across the region, with countries such as the UAE and Oman identified as showing major investment potential. Siemens has identified 46 viable green hydrogen projects in the region with a combined value of $92 billion, with both the UAE and Oman highlighted as key investment opportunities alongside Saudi Arabia. These projects will help to further diversify the region's economies, creating jobs and boosting sustainable economic growth.

But perhaps the most ambitious project of all is Saudi Arabia's NEOM gigacity. With plans to spend $80 billion on its development, the city aims to span the size of Belgium and be powered by 100 percent renewable energy, with 95 percent of the land being preserved for nature. Although there are doubts over whether the project is achievable, it highlights the region's commitment to creating a sustainable future.

The Middle East is on the cusp of a green energy revolution, with countries across the region embracing renewable energy and innovative green technologies. Greenfield projects such as the Al Dhafra Solar Project, the Manah and Sudair solar power facilities, and the NEOM gigacity demonstrate the region's ambition to become a global leader in the development of green energy. With the potential to generate significant economic benefits and create jobs, renewable energy will help to support sustainable growth across the region for decades to come.

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