16
October
2018
|
00:08
Europe/Amsterdam

Energy security through diversification

Summary

Energy diversification, the use of different energy sources to meet demand, is recognised nearly universally as a policy imperative. Around the world, governments strive to diversify their energy mix to insulate themselves from disruption and meet supply at different times of the day.

Energy diversification, the use of different energy sources to meet demand, is recognised nearly universally as a policy imperative. Around the world, governments strive to diversify their energy mix to insulate themselves from disruption and meet supply at different times of the day.

Energy diversification, the use of different energy sources to meet demand, is recognised nearly universally as a policy imperative. Around the world, governments strive to diversify their energy mix to insulate themselves from disruption and meet supply at different times of the day. A key shift in recent years is the rise of global investment in renewable sources of power. In the Middle East alone, the share of renewable energy is expected to rise by more than triple from 5.6 percent in 2016 to 20.6 percent in 2035.[1]

 

But why should countries mix it up?

 

Diversifying the energy mix is a step towards ensuring a sustainable and reliable energy supply in three ways:

 

Reinforcing energy security

Population growth in most Middle Eastern countries, and a focus on industrialisation and economic growth has effectively translated into a rapid increase in the demand for energy. In fact, driven by trends such as electrification and water desalination needs, the region would need to add 277 gigawatts of new additional capacity by 2035[2].

As a result, governments across the region have started to invest in alternative sources of energy, beyond conventional sources. The high solar and wind potential of the Middle East, combined with available financial resources, and falling costs of technology make renewable energy a viable solution to fortifying energy security in these countries.

 

Reducing energy import dependency

Many countries also rely heavily on imports of energy to meet their power needs. As an example, Jordan imports around 96 percent of its energy requirements, which represents about seven percent of its Gross Domestic Product[3].

The rise in energy demand would only translate into an increased dependence on imports and greater expenditure in the years to come. This fact and the reality of political challenges facing many nations mean it is essential for the region to develop local resources.

 

Safeguarding the environment

Climate change is a global phenomenon that countries are uniting against with the intention of keeping the rise in temperature below 2 °C by the end of the century. However, recent data shows that global renewable deployment will need to be six times faster if we wish to meet that goal.[4] Diversifying the energy mix therefore has the added benefit of mitigating carbon emissions to help save the planet.

Energy diversification is being made easier through advancements in technology, growing expertise, ramped up competition through the entry of new industry players, and developments in battery storage. The ambitious targets set by many countries to increase the share of renewable sources in their energy mix seem closer every day.

 

[1] Middle East Power: Outlook 2035

[2] Middle East Power: Outlook 2035

[3] NEPCO 2016

[4] Global Energy Transformation: A Roadmap to 205 - IRENA