MENA countries expanding renewables far too slowly

In the run-up to the 28th UN Climate Change Conference (COP28) starting in the Emirate of Dubai at the end of November, the energy market research organization Global Energy Monitor (GEM) has presented a report on the status of the energy transition in the Arabic-speaking countries of the MENA region (Middle East and North Africa). The key message is that the addition of wind and solar power plants in the 15 countries studied has accelerated considerably, but progress is still far too slow.
The report counts 6.9 gigawatts (GW) of new wind and solar capacity built since May 2022, bringing total installed capacity up 57 percent to 19 GW. Projects with 9 GW are under construction, which could bring another increase of about half by 2024. However, a total of about 500 GW would be needed to replace the 343 GW of gas-fired power plants operating in the region.
The expansion of renewables is not only progressing very slowly in countries like Somalia or Syria. Rich countries such as Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and the United Arab Emirates are also lagging far behind what is needed. The total capacity of potential projects in the region identified by Global Energy Monitor adds up to 361 GW, which is more than the U.S. and Canada combined. Of this, however, only six percent (23 GW) are under construction to date, and 47 percent have completed further steps in terms of financing or permitting. For the remaining 46 percent, there are only announcements.

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