Article Source: IMechE
Massive growth will see power from natural gas maintain firm dominance in the Middle East, an industry report has claimed, despite predicted progress for renewable sources.
Mature new storage methods such as electrolysis-generated hydrogen will be key for any shift from gas to solar and wind, added Dietmar Siersdorfer from Siemens as he launched the Middle East Power: Outlook 2035 report in Masdar City ahead of Abu Dhabi Sustainability Week in the United Arab Emirates.
Addressing journalists from the UK, China, Japan, Germany and the Middle East, Siersdorfer faced a wide window looking out across the sand to a 10-megawatt (MW) solar farm as he set out a vision for the region’s energy mix in 17 years’ time. Siemens, which provides gas power technology to countries including Egypt and Pakistan, says the source will maintain a 60% share of the total energy mix while increasing in generation from 731 terawatt-hours per year (TWh/a) to 1,499TWh/a.
Combined-cycle power plants, which use heat from gas-burning turbines to create steam and turn more turbines, will increase generation by boosting efficiency to more than 60%, said Siersdorfer.
Gas will also stay dominant because of recently-installed power stations, Siersdorfer told Professional Engineering. “Having been built, we will not scrap them,” he said, with countries such as Egypt set for a minimum three decades with new installations.
Overall, the region’s demand for power is expected to grow at roughly 3.3% per year, almost doubling from 277 gigawatts (GW) to 483GW in 2035. Siemens – which also sells wind turbines and solar power components – predicts that renewables’ share of the market will more than triple to 20.6%, or about 100GW, as huge new projects such as the Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum Solar Park in Dubai start generating power.
However, the report states, this highlights the need for reliable, efficient storage solutions and a mixture of energy sources to overcome intermittency problems and offer stability.
“Of course there will be a change over time,” Siersdorfer responded to PE. “How fast will we have reliable energy storage to cope… that will be the key, decisive change factor for the coming 20 years, 10 years, how the energy system will develop. Based on the knowledge today, what we can do today with storage, this is the situation.”
Others at the launch event asked if the report might underestimate wind and solar power’s potential, after organisations such as the US Energy Information Administration also failed to predict rapid increases in market share. Siemens will update the figures next year, said Siersdorfer.
Our reporter Joseph Flaig is at Abu Dhabi Sustainability Week. To get in touch with him about a story, email firstname.lastname@example.org.