Qatar to tender 1,800MW solar plant

Gulf state looking to increase its renewable energy footprint

Qatar authorities have revealed that they will ask companies to tender for a 1,800 megawatt (MW) solar energy plant, to be built in 2014, according to Reuters. The plant will cost between $10-20bn.

The tiny Gulf state is currently the world’s highest per capita greenhouse gas emitter, as it seeks to increase its renewable energy production.

“We need to diversify our energy mix,” said Fahad Bin Mohammed al-Attiya, chairman of the Qatari organizers of climate talks in Doha. The United Nations-led summit is being held among almost 200 nations from November 26-December 7.

OPEC member Qatar is the world’s top exporter of liquefied natural gas (LNG). It has so far disappointed environmentalists by failing to set clear targets for reducing its greenhouse gas emissions at the UN talks, arguing its LNG exports help other nations turn from more polluting coal.

The country has been wary of a global shift to renewable energy, fearing it will hit demand for oil and gas from OPEC producers.

Qatar said the power generated by solar energy would mainly power its desalination plants, which are currently gas fuelled. The plant construction is expected to be completed by 2018.

Once the plant is up and running, the share of renewables in Qatar’s electricity generation energy mix will rise to 16%. It is zero at present.

Attiya did not provide an exact figure on how much carbon dioxide the solar plant would displace but said it would be significant.

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