Alternative Energy in the Middle East by Gawdat Bahgat (auth.)

By Gawdat Bahgat (auth.)

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Generally, Europe enjoys one of the highest standards of living, which also means high energy consumption. Meanwhile, with few exceptions, most European countries lack indigenous energy deposits. For decades, Europe has been heavily dependent on imported fossil fuels. With the growing concern about climate change and protecting the environment, the Europeans have sought to diversify their energy mix. Renewable energy has been increasingly seen as the appropriate answer to meet the growing demand with less pollution.

Algeria, Libya, and Egypt hold substantial oil and gas deposits and for a long time have been its major producers and exporters. Morocco, on the other hand, has very limited indigenous reserves. The kingdom is heavily dependent on foreign supplies to meet its growing energy demands. The country’s high rates of population growth and urbanization, as well as economic expansion, mean rising energy consumption and wider gap between supply and demand. This heavy dependency on imported fossil fuels adds more burden on the country’s trade and financial deficit.

62 On the other hand, offshore wind is still considered an emerging industry that requires further research and development to enhance the technology and reduce costs. Wind turbines both onshore and offshore are complex systems that require considerable studies and planning to choose the most appropriate location and equipments in order to optimize costs and performance. More studies are needed to determine the impact of wind plants on local climate, wildlife, and the broader ecosystem. Similarly, more efforts are needed to establish regulatory systems and new institutions, particularly in countries that have not yet experienced substantial wind energy deployment (like most of Middle Eastern states).

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