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Middle East & North Africa Could Save $750 Billion From Bigger Renewables Target

Originally published on Sustainnovate.

IRENA Director: MENA Region To Save $750 Billion If Renewables Targets Achieved

The MENA region — comprised of the Middle East and North Africa — will see a net benefit of $750 billion if the region’s current 2030 renewable energy targets are achieved, according to the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) director general Adnan Amin.

The comments — which were made by Amin at IRENA’s recent 6th MENA renewable energy conference — made note of the fact that the vast majority of MENA nations currently possessed 2030 renewable energy targets of between 5% and 15% market-penetration. The achievement of these goals would result in various cost and benefit savings to the various energy sectors in the region.

On the subject of development costs, Amin noted that solar energy technologies could be transformative: “Solar is already competitive with natural gas, and the cost of PV (photovoltaic) power generation has dropped 80% in the past 5 years. There can be further reduction in cost.”

Despite the obvious and growing advantages of solar energy technologies in the region, there are still a number of factors slowing down the rate of deployment. The director of Oxford Energy Institute Studies, Bassam Fattouh, commented at the recent IRENA conference that the MENA targets were perhaps too ambitious, also noting that: “Several challenges hamper renewable energy production in MENA, such as state monopoly of the power system, a lack of institutional capacity and conventional energy subsidies.”

In a related note, IRENA recently revealed calculations that if the annual rate of renewables deployment was globally increased 6-fold (with a doubling of investment to $770 billion a year), savings would total more than $4 trillion by the year 2030. More than 12 gigatonnes of carbon dioxide emissions would be curtailed by 2030 in such a scenario as well.

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