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EDITOR IN CHIEF- ABDULLAH BIN SALIM AL SHUEILI

Oman leads MENA countries shifting away from fossil fuels to green energy

The Sultanate of Oman leads the list of Middle East and North African (MENA) countries shifting away from fossil fuels to green energy, this according to the latest report of Global Energy Monitor. With over 39.7 GW of prospective solar and wind energy projects, Oman, Morocco and Algeria are emerging as hotspots on MENA's green energy map, accounting for more than half of the region's planned solar and wind additions. This race to the top of renewables capacity is demonstrating a marked shift away from fossil fuel power in some countries. The combined prospective solar and wind energy projects pursued by the top three countries in the region is nearly four times their prospective new gas-fired capacity.


Both Oman and Algeria are moving assertively on utility-scale wind and solar projects. The Sultanate of Oman, in particular, is demonstrating a marked shift away from fossil power — it has 15.3 GW of prospective utility-scale solar projects announced, in development, or on construction. Roughly 20 per cent of Oman’s prospective utility-scale solar and wind capacity will come online in the next two years; the remaining 12.5 GW are associated with green hydrogen project that is projected to come online in 2038.


The top five countries in terms of prospective utility-scale solar and wind capacity additions are: 1. Oman (15.3 GW), 2. Morocco (14.4 GW), 3. Algeria (10.0 GW), 4. Kuwait (9.6 GW), 5. Iraq (5.8 GW)


Meanwhile, Morocco is looking to maintain its early rise to the top of the region’s renewables powerhouses — the 14.4 GW of utility-scale solar and wind projects the country is poised to roll out in the next five years are more than six times its prospective gas investments.


The MENA countries are planning 73.4 GW of utility-scale wind and solar projects which corresponds to a more than five-fold increase in current capacity and marks a serious shift away from oil and gas, the report shows.


The countries in the region, which include some of the world's leading oil producers, predominantly bet on solar energy with over 49.5 GW of prospective utility-scale solar projects forecast to go into operation by the end of the current decade.


The table below gives details about the operating and prospective wind and solar capacity in some Arab countries:


The size of both solar and wind projects in the MENA region is considerably bigger than in the rest of the world. The average size of prospective solar parks in the region is about four times bigger than in the rest of the world, and the average wind phase farm size is more than one and a half times that of the rest of the world, the Global Energy Monitor report noted.


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