Electricity demand in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) is currently fulfilled by conventional energy sources, which negatively impact the environment due to high carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions. However, growth in energy demand is gradually exceeding supply, leading to power shortages. This issue can be addressed by either expanding the capacity of conventional technologies, which would increase the region’s carbon footprint, or exploring renewable alternatives such as solar and wind.
Accelerated demand for power supply, rapid urbanization, an expanding population, substantial industrialization, and spiraling rates of power consumption have made the need for sustainable and renewable sources of energy more acute than ever before.Additionally, Qatar’s successful bid for the 2022 FIFA World Cup will spur the rapid deployment of renewable technologies in an attempt to host a low-carbon event.
Renewable energy is at a nascent stage of development, with excellent solar energy potential but relatively limited prospects for wind, biomass and tidal energy. Qatar does however have good wind potential along the Qatar Bahrain Causeway. Wind speeds are moderate and largely suited to small wind turbine generators for water pumping or generating electricity in remote locations and on isolated farms.
The annual mean wind speed is 4.3 meters per second (m/s) (approximately 5.7 m/s in offshore areas) with 150 W/m2 wind energy potential for 5 m/s. Although wind power generation is 8% lower than gas-fired electricity generation, the cost in offshore locations is 10% lower than the cost of gas-based generation.