In the United Arab Emirates and more specifically in Abu Dhabi, plans have started to build the largest solar power plant in the Middle East to be called the Shams 1 Solar Project. The plant will be a 100-megawatt solar powered plant that will be capable of generating power for more than 20,000 homes.
The Special Envoy for Climate and Energy Change and the CEO of Masdar from the UAE, which is government funded, Sultan Ahmed al-Jaber said, our country is not like many others today that desperately need a complimentary form of power. Our point of view on this is strategic, as we want to be a big player in technology, rather than a player in energy.
Until recently, solar power was not the ideal power source in the region, costing three times the price of the fossil fuels that are heavily subsidized. However, because of technological advancements that have changed dramatically, nations that are oil-rich are now turning to renewable energy to meet the demands that are growing for power to help fuel the economic growth their countries are enjoying. Another reason is they receive much more from exporting their oil rather than using it domestically.
Saudi Arabia received a wakeup call when a recent study showed that their current demand for energy was growing at such a fast rate of speed that they risked being an energy importer within 20 years and that would become a huge economic issue for them.
Countries such as Algeria, Kuwait, Qatar, Egypt and Saudi Arabia have set up aggressive goals so that a substantial percentage of their overall energy comes from renewable sources within the next 10 years. In Qatar, there is a 35,000 sq. meter facility that tests various forms of solar power to determine which one is the best for the area. Factors like heat, humidity and dust help determine the materials that will end up producing most efficiently for areas of the desert like in Qatar.