OPEC member Qatar will ask firms to tender for a 1,800 megawatt (MW) solar energy plant in 2014 costing up to $20 billion as the world’s highest per capita greenhouse gas emitter 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.
Qatar, the world’s top exporter of liquefied natural gas (LNG), 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 fueled The plant construction was expected to be completed by 2018.
“It will be developed in a concession format, there’ll be blocks,” he said.
Mr. Attiya did not provide an exact figure on how much carbon dioxide the solar plant would displace but said it would be significant.
Qatar’s current power generation was 7,000 megawatts and consumption around 5,000 MW, with an annual growth rate of more than 10 percent, he said, although that was expected to slow. “There’s a projection that growth will drop to 5-6 percent,” he said