Saudi, UAE lead GCC switch to renewable energy sources, strengthen climate commitment

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Out of all countries in the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC), Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates are leading efforts to become more environmentally friendly, according to a report by an analytics firm, which said that the countries’ efforts to invest in renewable energy projects will help them reach their climate goals.

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As of the end of 2021, around 90 percent of the GCC’s renewable energy capacity came from the UAE and the Kingdom, Tuesday’s report from S&P Global Ratings said.

Saudi Arabia aims to generate some 50 percent of its power from renewable sources by 2030, as part of the Saudi Green Initiative, while the UAE in 2022 increased its targets of reducing greenhouse gas emissions to 31 percent by 2030.

In a bid to reach these targets, the countries have launched a number of initiatives. Saudi Arabia in 2022 announced plans to develop one of the largest Carbon Capture, Usage and Storage (CCUS) hubs in the world that aims to collect 44 million tons of CO2e.

As part of plans for the futuristic city NEOM, Saudi Arabia also launched a regreening initiative to plant 100 million native trees, shrubs and grasses by 2030.

Dumat al-Jandal, Saudi Arabia’s first wind farm, is the region’s largest wind asset in operation, according to the Saudi Green Initiative (SGI) website and is it is expected to displace nearly a million tons of CO2 per year.

Strength in solar power

As of 2021, 90 percent of installed renewable energy capacity in the GCC came from solar power facilities, according to the International Renewable Energy Agency.

The Al Dhafra plant in Abu Dhabi is expected to be fully operational in 2023, and will be one of the world’s largest single-site solar plant.

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