Gulf region can follow the UK in tapping into ‘big potential’ of renewable energy: British expert

Renewable Energy

LONDON: Countries in the Gulf region have been urged to learn from the UK and tap into the “big potential” of renewable energy.
Britain has had considerable interest from the Arab market about the adoption of clean energy sources, but a lack of acceptance from society was often holding back further commitment, said Frank Gordon, head of policy at the UK’s Renewable Energy Association.
Speaking on the sidelines of a London summit to promote Arab-British investment opportunities post Brexit, Gordon told Arab News that there were many lessons that could be learned from the UK experience in helping countries in the region transition to renewables.
Although Saudi Arabia and other neighboring countries were pursuing nuclear energy, Gordon said governments and societies needed to realize that renewable energy was not just cleaner and environmentally friendly, but also cheaper economically and had better health aspects.
“The Gulf states are keen to preserve their oil reserves for exporting opportunities to maximize a very valuable resource,” said Gordon, adding that they were looking toward promoting renewables to provide alternative energy means for their countries.
Britain was once a global oil producer, but its supplies have dwindled to such an extent that it now imports oil and has transitioned to consuming renewables. One-third of all electricity produced in the UK comes from renewable sources.
“In the UK, you can build renewable energy for about half the price of nuclear power and about two-thirds of the price of newly built gas power,” Gordon said.
Solar, wind and tidal were the cheapest forms of any power generation, he added, but most of the focus and major plans would likely be on solar energy in the Gulf, “which has big potential.”
He said: “The region would not be able to access the around 14 types of renewable sources currently available in the world, due to education, geographic circumstances and lack of acceptance and education.”
A lot of governments had ambitious programs and could benefit from the vast training programs that the UK offered, he added.
Citing Britain’s experience, Gordon said the transition to relying on renewable energy would need public acceptance and education, while local communities would have to be involved in projects from the start.

Contributed by :