Previous Debate

Who's got the power? The future of energy in the Arabian Gulf

DATE & TIME: 16 November, 2011 / 06:30 PM
VENUE: Dubai Knowledge Village Conference Centre

Of the many challenges facing the Middle East region, one of the most salient ones is energy. Finite resources like oil and gas are not only detrimental to the environment and expensive; they have also been a cause of tensions and conflict in the region. Nuclear energy has been described as an alternative, with some governments in the GCC region already pursuing plans to build reactors over the next decade.

However, disasters like the Fukushima incident earlier this year in Japan demonstrated, in a most glaring fashion, that nuclear energy is not without risks. The proliferation of nuclear material and know-how is yet another challenge. Indeed, Germany earlier this year became the first industrialised nation completely to opt out of nuclear energy, announcing its decision to close all existing reactors by the year 2022.

Many are therefore advocating for renewable energy as a sustainable solution to managing the long-term energy challenges of the Middle East. Abu Dhabi's Masdar being a case in point, many initiatives in the Gulf states are being established to actively foster research into, and the development of, sustainable energy solutions for the region. But how cost-efficient are these alternative resources like solar and wind energy? Is there sufficient environmental awareness in the region for them to be accepted among people?


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