Middle East solar dream in danger of early burn out

With abundant sunshine, the Middle East and North Africa should be global leaders in solar power. But slowing electricity demand growth and an uncertain economic outlook across the region may hold back investment, experts warn. Arab Petroleum Investments Corporation lowered by 20% its estimate of spending on power generation over the next five years in the region, in a report last month, citing reduced economic and population growth forecasts and higher electricity prices. Egypt – the region’s most populous Arab country – five years ago suffered blackouts due to electricity shortages. It is now facing overbuilding new capacity, Apicorp said. Annual Middle East power demand will grow by an average 2.3% over the next five years, down from 3.4% for 2013 to 2018, according to S&P Global Platts Analytics. Saudi Electricity Co., which accounts for about 70% of the country’s total installed generating capacity, reported a 2.2% drop in electricity demand for last year as electricity prices to end users rose as a result of a reform. “Declining costs represent an opportunity for renewables in the region [but] it would be less pressing to invest in renewables when you have domestic gas and also policies that are being so successful… continue reading

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Source: CTRM Center

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