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Middle East $57 Billion Investment for Power Generation

British energy expert Neil Walker has said that the power and water infrastructure projects in the GCC countries have witnessed a boom, as these countries have demonstrated sufficient level of stability that developers are now willing to risk capital. Middle East North Africa region will invest $57 billion over the next six years to install new generation capacity.

"This provides opportunities for both local and international firms active in the sector," said Neil Walker in a lecture at the Information Affairs Office (IAO) of Shaikh Sultan bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Deputy Prime Minister of Abu Dhabi.

Walker said that there are great privileges in involving both the private and the public sectors in energy generation industry in the states of the region.

He pointed out that in order to keep pace with this high demand, massive investment is required to build and upgrade power plants. He expected that the total investment needed in the sector for the region will be around $200 billion over the next 15 years. Over the next six years, Middle East and North Africa is predicted to spend $57 billion on the installation of new capacity alone, he said. He pointed out that there is an increase in demand for energy in the UAE and in the future it will need to diversify means of power generation to include the renewable resources.

He affirmed that there are a number of pioneering research projects for renewable energy, mentioning the decisions in early December by the high committee of the Gulf Co-operation Council ordering a study into the creation of a joint programme of nuclear technology for peaceful purposes. He stated that nuclear power is one of the issues being discussed by various governments including Iran, adding that developing the nuclear fuel for peaceful purposes is very essential as it is clean adding that the nuclear option is not the inevitable solution.

The energy expert stated that while power generation from renewable energy sources is still a fringe activity in the Middle East, the number of pilot projects, hybrid plants and renewable energy research areas are on the increase. Coal and natural gas industries are among the activities recently being developed for power generation.

But he warned that the planned gas and electricity links between the Gulf States threaten to change the existing dynamics, as it will reduce the amount of investment required in new generating plants in each state by creating a means for reserve sharing, and ultimately trading, between states. But the remarkable benefit of the Gulf electricity link is that it will be useful for all. (via - Khaleej Times)

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