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Qatar to invest in solar energy plant

World’s top exporter of LNG indicates shift towards renewable energy

| | Jan 15, 2013 | 1:23 pm
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World’s top exporter of LNG indicates shift towards renewable energy

According to a news report by Reuters, OPEC member Qatar will ask firms to tender for a 1,800 megawatt (MW) solar energy plant in 2014 costing between USD 10 to 20 billion, as the world’s highest per capita greenhouse gas emitter seeks to increase its renewable energy production.

This comes against the backdrop of the UN-led summit held among almost 200 nations from November 26 to December 7. Qatar, the world’s top exporter of liquefied natural gas (LNG), has been wary of a global shift to renewable energy, fearing it will hit demand for oil and gas from OPEC producers, the report pointed out.

Giving credence to the above view, Fahad Bin Mohammed al-Attiya, Chairman of the Qatari organisers of climate talks in Doha, reportedly said, “We need to diversify our energy mix.”

The news report pointed out that Qatar has so far disappointed environmentalists by failing to set clear targets for reducing its greenhouse gas emissions at the UN talks, arguing that its LNG exports help other nations turn from more polluting coal.

As per the news report, Qatar said that the power generated by solar energy would mainly power its desalination plants, which are currently gas-fuelled.

The plant construction was expected to be completed by 2018, the report added and elaborated that once the plant is up and running, the share of renewables in Qatar’s electricity generation energy mix will rise to 16% from zero at present.

The Reuters’ story said that Attiya did not provide an exact figure on how much CO2 the solar plant would displace, but hinted that it would be significant.

Attiya reportedly highlighted that Qatar’s current power generation was 7,000 MW and consumption around 5,000 MW, with an annual growth rate of more than 10%, although that was expected to slow.

“There’s a projection that growth will drop to five to six per cent,” he is believed to have said.


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