No sign of a transition away from gas and oil reliance
Middle Eastern countries are powered almost exclusively on gas and oil, with little coal reliance. 77% of power came from gas in 2021, and 21% from oil. Few Middle Eastern countries have made any steps to embrace clean electricity.
What’s more, there’s still gas investment pouring in: Iran, UAE, Kuwait and Iraq are building more gas power plants than most countries in the world. Around 15% of the world’s gas power generation is in the Middle East.
Despite strong words from many governments about vast desert solar projects, few have yet to materialise – less than 2% of the region’s electricity came from solar in 2021. These projects will likely eventually materialise, but it’s not clear this will happen fast enough to limit warming to 1.5 degrees. Many countries, like Iran and Iraq, have yet to even get any clean electricity projects off the ground, bar a few small legacy hydro projects.
Carbon intensity in the region is high, with an average in 2021 of 527gCO2 per kWh, compared to the global average of 442g.
With COP28 in the UAE in 2023, could countries develop a love for solar that could help rapidly repower the Middle East away from fossil fuels?
Last updated: March 2022