The energy sector in the Middle East region is witnessing a surge of fresh investments in 2012, with 97 new power and water projects worth $32.7 billion under construction in 12 countries, said a new report.
Many of these projects have started construction since the beginning of this year, or are due to begin by year end, said a report by market research specialists Ventures Middle East.
According to the Ventures report, ten power and water projects worth $1.5 billion are due to begin construction in the UAE this year including the $740 million Noor 1 solar power plant, and second phase of the $580 million Emal Power Plant.
Morocco has injected $4.4 billion into seven projects this year, and has placed a strong emphasis on renewable energy, with the Ouarzazate Solar Power in Olant, and four wind farms in Taza, Laayoune, Tetouan, and Tangier, all set to go ahead.
Kuwait has given the green light for 19 power and water projects worth $4.2 billion, highlighted by the $2.7 billion Al Zour North Independent Water and Power Plant.
Saudi, the report said, has 15 fresh projects worth $8.8 billion kicking off in 2012, including the $2 billion Al Qurayyah Independent Power Plant, and the US$1.2 billion Shuaiba 2 Power Plant.
The other Middle East countries surging ahead with new power and water projects this year include Egypt, Oman, Qatar, Jordan, Iraq, Yemen, Syria, and Bahrain.
According to the World Energy Council, the Gulf region alone will require 100 GW of additional power by 2020 to meet increased demand, growing at 7.7 per cent annually.
Population in the Middle East is expected to grow by 31 per cent by 2025, reaching 500 million, forcing regional governments to not only ramp up efforts to invest in more power capacity, but also putting significant strain on already scarce natural water resources.
The Middle East is one of the most water scarce regions in the world, resulting in significant investment in water infrastructure and non-traditional water technologies such as desalination and wastewater re-use – of which the region has become a world leader.