December 11 2017 08:55 PM

Qatar is considered a strong market for photovoltaics (PV) products as it looks to achieve the goals laid out in the National Vision 2030 plan and increase the sustainability of its energy mix, according to a new report.
The Qatari government has already announced plans for the country’s largest photovoltaics farm, which will begin operating in 2020 with a 200MW of capacity, said Booz Allen Hamilton in a report.
According to estimates by the Qatar Environment and Energy Research Institute (QEERI), 1 sq km of land in Qatar’s desert receives solar energy equivalent to 1.5mn barrels of oil in one year alone. There is increased awareness of the need to diversify the energy mix in the Mena (Middle East and North Africa) region and this has prompted investments in solar projects to grow from $160mn in 2010 to $3.5bn in 2015, according to the Oxford Business Group.
However, the potential of solar energy can be impeded by geographical challenges related to dust, heat, and water, Booz Allen said. In the face of these challenges, innovation strategies can be deployed to establish a sustainable, diversified economy, it said.
The energy and utilities sector in Qatar must harness innovative strategies to overcome some of the greatest sustainability challenges in the GCC, Booz Allen said in a report titled ‘The Future is Innovation’.
Combined, the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) states hold almost a third of proven crude-oil reserves and approximately a fifth of global gas reserves. However, declining reserves and revenues along with increased consumption due to rapid industrialisation, population growth and rising domestic energy demand, are testing the region’s capacity to its limits.
Policy changes and shifting national budgets across the GCC indicate that the region’s governments are responding to these challenges, and the region’s key energy and utilities players will need to adapt to new realities.
“The key to sustainable success lies in innovation, which is a force constantly promoted yet all too infrequently embraced. Energy and utilities companies often face concerns over the sharing of intellectual property, stakeholder reluctance to invest in new research, and financing issues – all of which can impact innovation,” said Dr Adham Sleiman, vice president, Booz Allen (Mena).
To make sustainability a viable alternative, Booz Allen has identified a number of key considerations for successful innovation strategies that could enable GCC energy players to fuel the region’s growth, long after the world’s fossil fuels run dry.
Fady Kassatly, senior vice president, Booz Allen Hamilton Mena, said, “Innovation is driving the national agenda of a number of countries in the region. In the energy sector, there is a big opportunity to harness the potential at the grassroots level by empowering human capital. Energy companies must consider fostering an innovative corporate culture that encourages employees to experiment without fear of failure.
“This will go a long way in ensuring that innovation is not just a buzzword, but a very tangible outcome of out-of-the-box thinking that can help address some of the most pressing global issues today.”

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