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Qatar to Embrace Solar Energy

OPEC member country Qatar will increase its share of electricity generation through PV power to 16 percent by 2018.

Qatar is hosted this year’s United Nations Climate Change Conference, which was headed by Fahad Bin Mohammed al-Attiya in Doha.

The country is the world’s leader in liquefied natural gas exports, and has world’s the highest per capita greenhouse gas emissions. Currently Qatar uses little solar power, in part thanks to an aversion to harming the fossil fuel market. But now Qatar will develop a $10 to $20 billion 1,800 MW solar power project to power their gas-fueled desalination plants.

“That will be 16 percent of our total electrical output,” Fahad Bin Mohammed al-Attiya told Reuters, adding the project was due to be operating by 2018.

“It makes sense for us,” he said. “We will also have a feed-in tariff system so that people can put solar systems on their roof and contribute to the grid.”

The nation has decided to take these measures now to take advantage of competitive solar prices; PV is especially economically feasible in Qatar thanks to the amount of solar radiation in the region.

Qatar has thus far come up short in setting clear and defined targets for reducing its greenhouse gas emissions at the UN  Conference. The country pointed out that its liquefied natural gas exports have been helping other countries reduce consumption of more polluting coal.

In a report submitted to the United Nations in 2011, Qatar said it is voluntarily pursuing a national initiative to lessen its greenhouse gas emissions as long as it is in line with sustainable development.

However, to Qatar, climate change represents a double edged sword: it can be a threat to the country’s fragile desert living environment, but effective action to address it would weaken the global demand for fossil fuels, thus hugely impacting Qatar’s economy.


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