Kahramaa’s Director of Production Planning to QNA: Qatar’s Renewable Energy Set to Rise to 18% of Energy Mix by 2030

Doha, June 29 (QNA) – Director of Production Planning and Business Development at Kahramaa Eng. Abdul Rahman Ibrahim Al Baker said that the current production of renewable energy in Qatar is estimated at 5 percent of the total energy mix, forecast to rise to 18 percent by 2030.

In an interview with Qatar News Agency (QNA), Al Baker emphasized the crucial importance of renewable energy for Qatar to achieve the goals outlined in the National Development Strategy 2024-2030. The Qatar National Renewable Energy Strategy aims to develop a sustainable and cost-effective energy system, leveraging the country’s abundant natural gas reserves and renewable energy potential.

Al Baker highlighted that the strategy aims to reach 4 gigawatts from centralized renewable energy projects and 200 megawatts from distributed projects by 2030. The strategy focuses on three main goals: reducing carbon dioxide emissions through sustainable policies, increasing the share of renewable energy while maintaining grid reliability, and maximizing the social and economic benefits of renewable energy programs.

On the economic benefits, Al Baker noted the competitive costs of renewable technologies, making the adoption of renewable energy technologies in Qatar and the region more attractive due to the decreased levelized cost of electricity production. The cost of photovoltaic solar energy has dropped significantly from around 4 cents per kilowatt-hour in 2017 to about 1.5 cents in 2023, with expectations to decrease to around 1 cent per kilowatt-hour by 2030. Similarly, the cost of wind energy has decreased from about 5 cents per kilowatt-hour in 2017 to approximately 4.5 cents in 2023, projected to reach about 4 cents per kilowatt-hour by 2030. The recommended energy mix is expected to reduce the average cost of electricity generation by 15 percent in 2030. Al Baker also mentioned that the strategy will enhance energy security by diversifying energy sources, ensuring the stability of the energy sector. The strategy adopts a balanced approach, combining centralized renewable energy facilities with high-efficiency gas-powered thermal generation.

Qatar’s high potential for increasing renewable energy usage is due to the high quality of its solar energy resources, with a global horizontal irradiance among the highest in the world, averaging over 2,000 kilowatt-hours per square meter annually. The strategy focuses on photovoltaic solar technology due to the country’s high solar irradiance levels, mature technology, and numerous specialized companies in this field.

The current renewable energy production is distributed between the Siraj 1 PV solar plant in Al Kharsaah with a capacity of 800 megawatts and over 9 megawatts from distributed solar projects. Overall, Qatar’s energy mix currently relies on thermal generation, with the total thermal power capacity exceeding 12 gigawatts, accounting for over 90 percent of the country’s total power generation capacity.

The operation of Siraj 1 and future solar projects by QatarEnergy (with a production capacity of 875 megawatts) reflect the state’s commitment to effectively utilizing centralized renewable energy projects.

Regarding the anticipated challenges, Al Baker highlighted the limited capabilities of the private sector in contributing effectively to large projects due to the small market size and the lack of expertise among companies. This poses a challenge in achieving the strategy’s goals, especially in distributed generation, along with the need for significant investments estimated at $7.6 billion by 2030.

To continue making progress, it’s essential to enable renewable energy development companies to build skills and capabilities, assess the attractiveness of the renewable energy manufacturing sector in Qatar, and consider financial enablers if deemed necessary for the local manufacturing sector. The strategy proposes launching a net billing mechanism to encourage investments in distributed solar projects, coordinating with financial institutions like Qatar Development Bank to offer attractive financing programs for clean energy projects, and streamlining the application process for distributed renewable energy projects through effective coordination with the Ministry of Municipality.

Additionally, the strategy suggests establishing clear technical standards and regulations to ensure quality, helping companies develop projects efficiently, coordinating with relevant entities to offer affordable vocational training programs for employees of development, engineering, procurement, construction, and operation and maintenance companies, and activating a supportive strategy for renewable energy tenders to foster the development of local actors. Furthermore, adopting local content targets to encourage developers to involve local engineering, procurement, construction, and operation and maintenance companies in renewable energy projects.

The Qatar General Electricity and Water Corporation (Kahramaa) announced in late April the launch of the Qatar National Renewable Energy Strategy aimed at diversifying and increasing the use of renewable energy sources, particularly solar energy, and integrating them into the electricity mix due to the high quality of solar energy resources in the country.

Kahramaa said that the launch of the strategy reflects its belief in a more sustainable future for Qatar and aims to achieve Qatar National Vision 2030 and the National Development Strategy 2024-2030, building on its efforts to enhance renewable energy use and develop related policies and strategies in coordination with 22 key energy stakeholders in Qatar. (QNA)