Qatar is looking towards renewable energy sources, as among the solutions to address some of the challenges in the energy-intensive sectors like power and desalination, the International Renewable Energy Agency (Irena) has said.
An executive summary from Irena, which participated in the Ministry of Energy and Industry’s (MEI) workshop on renewable energy at the Four Seasons Hotel Doha yesterday, cited recent trends showing that Qatar’s domestic gas consumption has already increased by 80% in the last five years to meet growing water and power demand.
“Qatar, today, continues to rely largely on natural gas to meet its energy needs with already-energy-intensive sectors like power and desalination expected to require higher energy inputs, as they account for substantial shares of its energy consumption.
“Hydrocarbon desalination plants in the country satisfy 87% of fresh water requirements. As overall energy demand is expected to grow even further to meet the standards of one of the fastest growing economies in the world, so are challenges to redirect imports for domestic needs and manage potential resource constraints,” Irena pointed out.
Irena said the cost of renewables “continues to drop dramatically,” thus gaining “exceptional momentum” amid low hydrocarbon prices. Solar, according to Irena, provides “an attractive option” for Qatar and the GCC.
Irena said nearly 60% of the GCC’s total surface has “excellent suitability” for solar PV (photovoltaic) deployment, of which, the development of 1% could create 470 gigawatts of additional power generation capacity.
“As such, Qatar aspires to increase its installed renewable generating capacity to 20% of its total installed generating capacity by 2030, clearly indicating the country’s commitment to drive its renewable energy mandate,” Irena said. This was reiterated by the energy ministry’s director of Energy Policy and International Relations Department, Sheikh Mishal bin Jabor al-Thani, citing the objectives of Qatar National Vision 2030.
The vision, he said, “aims to transform Qatar into a developed country capable of achieving sustainable development by seeking to develop a diversified economy with decreasing dependence on hydrocarbons.”
“This was highlighted in the speech of HH the Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani in November last year, in which Qatar seeks to produce 200 megawatts of electricity from solar energy in the first phase and later increase it to 500 megawatts,” he said.
Sheikh Mishal also called on stakeholders and major players in the renewable energy sector “to cooperate in proposing” policies, legislation, programmes, incentives, and plans to implement projects that will develop the sector and build competencies and expertise in this field. “The renewable energy in the state of Qatar is not only an economic option to preserve the country’s natural resources, generate electricity, or increase interest in the environment, but also to expand investments in sustainable technologies and sustainable energy.w In fact, the government is making investments in renewable energy projects abroad in line with the Qatar National Vision 2030,” he said.