Arab world renewables growth slows in 2020

Total renewables capacity stood at 24,224 MW last year

  
Image used for illustrative purpose A wind turbine is seen over the panels of a solar power plant of Korea South East Power Co. (KOSEP) in Incheon, in this file photo taken September 30, 2010. Image used for illustrative purpose

Image used for illustrative purpose A wind turbine is seen over the panels of a solar power plant of Korea South East Power Co. (KOSEP) in Incheon, in this file photo taken September 30, 2010. Image used for illustrative purpose

REUTERS/Jo Yong-Hak

DUBAI: The Middle East saw a 5 percent increase in its renewable energy capacity in 2020, as the region’s push to go greener stalled.

Total renewables capacity stood at 24,224 MW last year, according to a report by the Abu Dhabi-based International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA).

Growth in the sector slowed from the 13 percent increase in renewables capacity achieved between 2018 and 2019, as the COVID-19 pandemic took a toll on projects in the pipeline.

Still, the targets set by countries in the region could translate into a combined 80 GW of renewable capacity by 2030, IRENA said.

The global agency said the regional renewables push goes hand-in-hand with the Middle East’s ambition to diversify its economy, with projects typically bringing other economic benefits.

“The region recognizes the socio-economic benefits of renewable energy deployment, which is perceived as an opportunity for industrial diversification, new value-chain activities and technology transfer,” IRENA said.

The UAE has grown its renewable energy capacity from just 13MW in 2011 to 2,540 MW capacity in 2020. Saudi Arabia’s capacity also grew significantly over nine years – starting at only 3MW and increasing to 413 MW last year.

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