Why are Oil-Rich Countries now Investing in Solar?

abudhabi
Source: http://www.smartplanet.com/blog/bulletin/why-oil-rich-countries-are-investing-in-solar/15350

Abu Dhabi, the most oil-rich of the United Arab Emirates, is now home to the world’s single-largest concentrated solar power plant. Shams 1 is a 100-megawatt power plant; a $750 million project producing enough energy to power 200,000 homes and stretching across the area of desert. This plan is west of the United Arab Emirates capital and is the size of 285 football fields! With the demand for energy around the world increasing exponentially, this region will undergo a major transformation in how it generates electricity. “In fact, the Middle East is poised for major investments in renewable energy, and Shams 1 proves the economic and environmental advantage of deploying large-scale solar projects”, said Sultan Al Jaber, CEO of Masdar, a state-owned company behind the power plant. Saudi Arabia is also investing $100 billion in solar in order to produce one-third of its energy from this resource by 2032. It is being argued that countries such as these are investing in solar energy because they will use renewable energy as a long-term strategy to conserve their oil, rather than for a green initiative. Oil will be more profitable when it is sold to energy-poor countries in desperate need. The more solar electricity that oil-rich countries can produce, the more petroleum they can conserve to export. UAE President Shaikh Khalifa said, “The domestic production of renewable energy extends the life of our country’s valuable hydrocarbon resources and supports the growth of a promising new industry.”

Source: Why oil-rich countries are investing in solar, Tyler Falk, March 19 2013

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