BETHLEHEM, Penn. — Around the world, the effects of climate change are becoming more and more apparent. In response, countries around the world are altering their energy to reflect the changing concerns of the world. What is surprising is where the push is coming from.
The United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia, among the largest oil producers in the world, have decided to push for renewable energy.
On June 13, the United Arab Emirates announced at the Future of Energy Summit a partnership with Denmark to create more renewable energy. Working with the Dutch company, Vestas Wind, UAE has created a project called The Wind for Prosperity that will provide carbon-free electricity as an alternative to the use of expensive diesel generators for power.
This is only one component of their push for renewable energy. In addition to the country’s efforts to invest in solar and wind projects, water desalination and energy storage and efficiency, they have built Masdar City as a research facility for studying clean energy practices.
Partnering with Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), they plan to build a graduate degree program and research facility to patent and leverage new technologies.
Saudi Arabia, another country noted for its oil resources, intends to spend $100 billion pursuing renewable and nuclear energy projects to meet electricity demands and reduce its dependence on crude oil.
Liquid fuel accounts for half of the country’s power expenditures. Due to insufficient gas to generate all of the country’s power, they use crude and refined products to fuel power stations. They use approximately 800,00 barrels a day to satisfy domestic demand. It is expected that Saudi Arabia will announce a targeted 20 percent of electricity generated by renewables by 2030.
Both Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates can support large amounts of solar generation due to the region’s abundance of sun and high load profile. Most recently, the two countries signed a renewable energy accord on June 16. The accord reveals their commitment to pursuing renewable energy and clean technology.
Many other countries around the world have also taken the opportunity to increase renewable infrastructure.
Kenya plans to create solar plants at nine sites to provide more than half of the country’s electricity by 2016. Partnering with private firms, the state will provide half of the $1.2 billion price tag of the project. In addition to the benefits to climate change, the electricity costs in Kenya could potentially decrease by 80 percent.
Morocco aims to generate 42 percent of its electricity from renewables by 2020. They aim to create new plants while diversifying its electricity production to accommodate the increasing proportion of energy from renewables and natural gas.
The increasing awareness of renewable energy and its benefits are playing a large role in the changing policies of countries around the world. As the push continues, humanity’s impact on climate change will continue to be reduced. All of these developments can only help those in poverty and make it more energy accessible at a lower cost.