More wind power ahead as Arab world looks to diversify its energy mix

Solar power isn’t the only form of renewable energy taking off in the Middle East. More wind projects are being tendered as the region looks to diversify its energy mix, according to Vestas, the world’s largest wind turbine manufacturer.

“Everyone thinks about solar photovoltaic (PV) in the Middle East,” said Rainer Karan, Mediterranean East general manager for Vestas. “As more studies are completed and discussions move forward, there’s a high wind potential for the Middle East North Africa (Mena) region.”

Countries are bulking up their renewable energy sources to meet a rise in demand for power as they free up hydrocarbons for export. With the pivot towards a more cost efficient energy mix, there have been world-record breaking prices of solar PV power plants. That shift began with the second phase of the Mohammed bin Rashed Al Maktoum solar park in 2015.

Last year was the first time ever that solar power projects superseded all other forms of new capacity added for renewable energy generation. It increased by 32 per cent to 71 gigawatts (GW), according to Abu Dhabi-based International Renewable Energy Agency (Irena). Wind power followed, growing 12 per cent and added 51GW of new projects worldwide.

The wind sector leads ahead of solar by about 56 per cent or 467GW of installations globally.

The two forms of renewable energy can be used in tandem.