IRENA Policy Talks 2024 – Post-COP28: Translating pledges into action in the GCC

Post-COP28: Translating pledges into action in the GCC

With almost 200 global leaders agreeing upon the need to transition away from fossil fuels, and over 130 countries pledging to triple global renewable energy deployment and double energy efficiency by 2030 at COP28 hosted by the United Arab Emirates (UAE), concrete pathways for implementing pledges are more needed than ever.

IRENA’s new analysis Renewable Energy Markets: GCC 2023 shows that GCC countries have made significant progress in renewables, with installed capacity growing from close to zero in 2013 to over 5 GW in 2022. However, the share of renewables in the region’s total installed generation capacity only accounts for 3%. The report shows that there are several opportunities for GCC countries to enable an energy transition. For example, the GCC region’s climate and geography offer the region a great chance to accelerate its renewable energy deployment. The conducive business environment in the region, especially in the UAE and Saudi Arabia, can foster the deployment of cost-effective renewable energy sources, namely solar energy. As the recent auctions show, solar PV and CSP prices have become highly affordable, becoming an attractive option in the region.

Moreover, diversifying the historically fossil fuel-dependent economy can hedge volatile international oil prices. The energy transition in the region will also bring many opportunities for the workforce and enterprises. GCC countries can leverage existing resources such as large public funds and abundant solar energy to facilitate public investments in renewables as well as in innovative solutions like renewable-powered desalination and green hydrogen.

Against this background, IRENA’s second policy talk of 2024, “Post-COP28: Translating pledges into action in the GCC” started off with a scene-setting presentation(see the slides here) to present the key findings of the aforementioned Renewable Energy Markets: GCC 2023 report. Followed by a moderated panel session with distinguished renewable energy and climate policy experts, where the panels shared their insights on the current progress and opportunities for the energy transition in the region.