Despite Solar Surge, Siemens Sees Gas Dominating Middle East Electricity Supply
Renewable energy use in the Middle East will grow six-fold over the next 17 years, and its share of total electricity supply will nearly triple, but liquefied natural gas will still dominate the region’s energy supply mix in 2035, according to a mid-January analysis by German industrial conglomerate Siemens AG.
The report “predicts the persistent dominance of LNG, but a strong surge in renewables,” Renewable Energy World reports, with the renewables share increasing from 16.7 to 100 gigawatts (GW) across the region. Solar will account for about 61 GW of that total, writes Power Engineering International Editor Kelvin Ross, while the full production potential of wind “is not entirely reflected in the moderate capacity additions expected”.
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Siemens Middle East and UAE CEO Dietmar Siersdorfer pointed to batteries, digitalization, and the emerging technology of hydrogen storage as key drivers of a more diversified energy mix for the region.
But with the region’s economy diversifying, its population rising, and power demand projected to grow 3.3% per year, Siemens still expects high-efficiency, combined cycle gas plants to account for 60% of the region’s installed capacity at the end of the study horizon.
“A reliable, efficient, flexible, and affordable power supply is the backbone of economic and social development in the Middle East,” Siersdorfer told reporters during Abu Dhabi Sustainability Week. “While the energy mix will see significant diversification over the next 20 years, natural gas will remain the prime energy source for power generation in 2035.”
He cited the need for smart grid technologies as “the most underestimated thing” in the global energy industry, warning that “with greater interconnectivity, use of data analytics, and cloud technologies comes greater exposure to cybersecurity threats, so organizations need to be well-prepared.”