Is Saudi Arabia The Future of Solar? My Interview on Al Jazeera English
Could Saudi Arabia’s massive investment in solar transform clean energy? Al Jazeera English’s Robert Kennedy covers the dramatic investment in solar power that KSA has promised in order to reduce its annual usage of 850 million barrels of oil for domestic use. Among several experts he interviewed for this article, which he reported from Doha’s COP18, Mr. Kennedy reached out to me a couple weeks ago.
Leon Kaye, founder and editor of GreenGoPost.com, said it was the fossil-fuel rich countries of the Gulf, such as Saudi Arabia, that could lead the way to a cleaner planet.
‘While the rest of the world is mired in austerity or political inertia or focused on development, the MENA [Middle East and North Africa] countries have the deep pockets to fund the further development of all these new technologies - which are still expensive and require massive amounts of capital.’
I also mentioned in the interview with Mr. Kennedy that one reason why countries in the Middle East such as Saudi Arabia and Qatar are wise to invest in renewables is because of good pragmatic business sense. As fossil fuels become more difficult to extract and rise in price, these countries can reduce wasteful domestic consumption and sell more abroad. In the meantime, they have the capital to invest in a new energy infrastructure that the rest of us in North America, Europe and Japan lack because of budgetary constraints.
Photo of the Qatari desert courtesy Leon Kaye.