IEA says Middle East oil producers are increasingly accepting renewables

By SARAH KENT and SUMMER SAID

ABU DHABI -- Large oil producers in the Gulf are undergoing a shift in awareness to accept renewables as part of the future energy mix, Maria van der Hoeven, executive director at the International Energy Agency, said Monday on the sidelines of a conference in Abu Dhabi.

Many of the Gulf countries have made ambitious plans for increasing the share that renewables play in their energy mix in recent months.

Top oil exporter Saudi Arabia has said it will adopt a renewable energy program at the start of 2013 while Kuwait said in December that it aims to produce 15% of its energy from renewables by 2030.

"The interesting thing is we can see a shift in awareness that renewable energy is part of the future solution," said Mrs. van Der Hoeven.

"The Gulf is clearly diversifying its energy mix," she said, adding that the decision was an economic one

"Either you use your domestic oil and gas and that means you have less to export or you find a different alternative approach and you use this other fuel you have in huge abundance, and that's solar," she said.


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