Renewable energy, especially from the sun, should be the bulwark of the Middle East’s energy sector’s future, an expert has said.
Ali Sayegh, Chairman of the World Renewable Energy Conference and Director-General of the World Renewable Energy Network in Britain, said the Gulf states should be pro-active in global efforts to protect the environment and praised the Abu Dhabi government for allocating Dh15 billion for sustainable development. “The initiative is a giant step and a practical response from Abu Dhabi against accusations that the Gulf countries contaminate the environment with carbon dioxide emissions,” he said.
Sayegh said the fair price of a barrel of oil should be $150 instead of the prevailing $100 or less and that despite big increases in price, crude was still priced relatively low. He stressed the need for the Gulf countries, which have proven reserves that could meet the world’s demand for 150 years, to rationalise oil sales and look for new energy alternatives before oil runs out.
Citing the various uses that oil is put to in industries, such as petrochemicals, medicines, garments, perfumes and fertilizers, he said the demand for oil will definitely not go down. Currently, 50 per cent of the world consumption is used for transportation, which needs to be brought down, he said.
“This is a big mistake. There should be a policy to rationalise the use of petrol in transportation to curb pollution. If we presume that the world will reduce its reliance on oil, it will take 15 to 20 years before alternative energy sources can be reliable. International estimates indicate that oil prices might go up to $200 in 2020,” he added.
Sayegh said the Gulf enjoys abundant sunshine throughout the year, and this energy can easily replace oil through use in solar heaters and solar thermo power plants.