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‘Renewable energy to cover 15% of consumption by 2030’

KUWAIT CITY, April 5, (KUNA): Renewable energy is to cover 15 percent of Kuwait’s consumption by 2030, said Minister of Education and Minister of Higher Education Dr Bader Al-Essa on Monday. Kuwait supports all efforts by the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) that promote global usage of the power, Al-Essa said in an opening speech of the 6th Middle East and North Africa Renewable Energy Conference (MENAREC 6).

The conference is organized by Kuwait Institute for Scientific Research (KISR) and the Energy and Building Research Centre (EBRC) in partnership with the IRENA and the Federal Ministry of Economic Affairs and Energy (BMWI) of Germany. “Kuwait is working on facilitating the transfer of renewable energy techniques, as well as providing applications and policies to tackle current challenges, mainly pollution and global warming,” said Minister Al-Essa.

He pointed out that the State of Kuwait is — methodologically and voluntarily, contributing to reducing greenhouse gas emissions, as well as attempting to diversify energy sources through major projects by KISR. On his part, Minister of Water and Electricity Ahmad Al-Jassar, said securing energy sources is one of the major challenges facing the MENA region.

Kuwait, according to Al-Jassar, is considered one of the top water and electricity consumer countries due its geographical location, hot temperature during the summer and urban expansion. This led the ministry to discover new and innovative ways to clean energy, including solar, he said. The conference is to last till April 6. Director-General of Kuwait Institute for Scientific Research (KISR) Dr Samira Ahmad Omar said Monday the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) member states plan to pump up to $100 billion into renewable energy projects over the coming two decades. Such robust funding aims to meet the growing energy consumption in the GCC states, estimated at three percent a year, she said in a speech to the opening ceremony of the 6th Middle East and North Africa Renewable Energy Conference (MENAREC-6). Dr Omar attributed the increasing demand for energy to economic transformations, including the tendency towards establishing industrial and service bases, and the growth of population. “The environmental challenges relating to pollution and global warming left us with no choice other than relying heavily on clean and renewable energy, which is the focus of energy research circles worldwide,” she stressed.

“The GCC states, as well as other countries in the Middle East and Africa, have promising opportunities in the field of exploitation of the solar energy given the fact that they enjoy equatorial climate and sun shining rates of 1,400 to 1,800 hours a year,” she went on. The State of Kuwait has been earliest countries that sought to tap into the renewable energy. In 1978 KISR designed and operated a pilot solar energy station with a generating capacity of 100 kilowatts,” Dr Omar said, noting that the project was backed by Germany. KISR pursued researches into renewables and their utilization in seawater desalination and electricity generation. A few years ago, KISR launched Al-Saqaya renewable energy complex, which covers an area of 100 sq km, with a compound capacity of 200,000 megawatts, she said, adding that the project will go operational by the end of 2016.

On his part, executive director KISR’s energy and construction research center Salem Al-Hajraf affirmed that the domestication of renewable energies will have great impact on the economies of the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region. “Renewables will revitalize the economic growth and diversify the sources of economies through opening up new opportunities for the foreign investments in the industrial sector of the region and creating unconventional job opportunities for the youth,” Al-Hajraf, who is also chairman of higher committee of MENAREC-6, said. MENA region which is rich in fossil fuels enjoys unique opportunities in renewables, notably the solar energy resources, he added.

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