Meeting all stated renewable energy targets in GCC countries would save 4 billion barrels of oil and reduce emissions by 1.2 gigatonnes between now and 2030, according to new figures revealed by the Abu Dhabi-based International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) ahead of the upcoming World Future Energy Summit (WFES).
The soon-to-be released figures equate to 25 percent less annual fossil fuel consumption in the power and water sector in 2030, and an 8 percent overall reduction in per capita carbon footprint over the next 15 years. Nearly three-quarters, 74 percent, of the anticipated 69 gigawatts of renewable energy produced in the GCC will be generated in Saudi Arabia.
The numbers will be published in an upcoming GCC Renewable Energy Market Analysis slated for release at WFES 2016 on Jan. 18-21, 2016.
For policymakers, an important driver behind this anticipated regional shift to renewable energy includes the socioeconomic benefits it will produce.
The IRENA figures also show that because renewables, in particular solar photovoltaics, can be less water intensive than fossil fuel technologies, reaching targets would reduce consumption by 18 trillion liters, or 20 percent, of water annually, and create roughly 130,000 direct jobs per year from now until 2030.
"The global energy system accounts for some two-thirds of greenhouse gas emissions today. Transitioning rapidly to a global system fuelled by renewable energy is the single most effective way to decarbonize the global economy and keep global temperature rise to 2 degrees Celsius, but the pace and scale of change needs to increase," said IRENA Director-General Adnan Z. Amin.
"Important gatherings like the World Future Energy Summit provide critical platforms for the knowledge-exchange needed today to advance renewable energy in the region and around the world."
"With the demand for energy expected to increase by more than one-third over the next two decades, it is becoming essential that we diversify our resource pool to create a more sustainable model for energy security," said Maria-Jose Nadeau, Chair of the World Energy Council.
"Ensuring access to affordable, reliable, sustainable, and modern energy for all is among the 17 Sustainable Development Goals for 2030 put forward by the UN, and renewables will play an integral role in making this happen."
The Saudi Gazette