Widely regarded for its large resource of oil and gas, the Middle East is steadily establishing a stronghold within the renewable energy market. The growth of renewable energy jobs in the Middle East has increased rapidly in the recent years.
Renewable energy, more specifically solar power, with its particular regional climatic advantage can potentially play a significant role as a cost-competitive alternative to conventional fossil fuels.
MESIA is a non-profit, non-governmental organization that aims to:
- Promote solar power in the UAE
- Organize networking opportunities for solar professionals
- Produce reports on the latest technologies, standards, and product certifications
- Assist in the development of policies intended to strengthen the local solar industry
Find out more on the solar industry in the Middle East here.
The steady price decline of solar power generation infrastructure, especially pv cells, is making the renewable option more viable for the Middle East, a region where the sun shines in abundance. Not only is the technology becoming more affordable, but operational costs after construction are also minimal when compared with hydrocarbon-based generation. As a result, several countries in the Middle East are focusing on solar power as a means to satisfy rising electricity demand, make cuts to unsustainable government subsidy programs and reduce dependence on energy imports.
Renewable Energy Jobs in Saudi Arabia
Saudi Arabia relies on oil for electricity production, and it faces rising domestic demand for electricity at a time when low oil prices have put significant financial strain on the government. Its domestic fuel consumption is following an unsustainable trend. Using over 3 million barrels of oil per day domestically, Saudi Arabia is already the largest global consumer of petroleum for power production. About a third of its daily oil consumption is used to fuel power plants. Without additional sources of generation to satisfy climbing electricity demand, the share of oil consumed by electricity generation would climb.
Although Saudi Arabia is gradually implementing subsidy reforms designed to reduce domestic energy demand, it still will develop energy alternatives, which is where solar power could come into play. Under current goals, renewables would account for 8 percent of electricity production by 2020 and 15 percent by 2030, with solar power accounting for the majority of that increase. In the past, however, Saudi Arabia has lengthened the timelines for such targets.
Renewable Energy Jobs in UAE
The United Arab Emirates, meanwhile, has positioned itself as a renewable energy financier and development hub. It is the home of the International Renewable Energy Agency, and it hosts important conferences focused on both renewable and nonrenewable energy. Furthermore, it has used its ample hydrocarbon largesse to develop unique large- and small-scale renewable projects in ways that less resource-rich countries such as Morocco, Jordan and Egypt cannot match. The United Arab Emirates has established itself as a regional leader in solar power in part because of its greater ability to adopt the technology (both domestically and through partnerships with other countries) and to fund projects throughout the world. Masdar, the country's renewable energy arm, is connected with the Mubadala Development Co., one of the country's smaller sovereign wealth funds. Masdar is involved in projects throughout the Middle East, Africa, South America and Europe and on islands in the Pacific.