By Andy Sambidge
New Ventures report says 97 power, water projects started or about to start in region
The Middle East energy sector is witnessing a surge of fresh investment in 2012, with 97 new power and water projects worth $32.7bn having started construction since this year, or due to begin before the year-end.
A new study by Ventures Middle East reveals that the UAE has 10 power and water projects worth $1.5bn slated to begin construction in 2012, including the $740m Noor 1 solar power plant, and Phase 2 of the $580m Emal Power Plant.
It added that Kuwait has given the green light for 19 power and water projects worth $4.2bn, highlighted by the $2.7bn Al Zour North Independent Water and Power Plant.
According to Ventures, Saudi Arabia has 15 new projects worth $8.8bn kicking off in 2012, including the $2bn Al Qurayyah Independent Power Plant, and the $1.2bn Shuaiba 2 Power Plant.
The figures have been released by Ventures Middle East ahead of Power + Water Middle East, taking place in Abu Dhabi in October.
Other MENA countries surging ahead with new power and water projects in 2012 include Morocco, Egypt, Oman, Qatar, Jordan, Iraq, Yemen, Syria, and Bahrain.
According to the World Energy Council, the Gulf region alone will require 100GW of additional power by 2020 to meet increased demand, growing at 7.7 percent annually.
Population in the Middle East is expected to grow by 31 percent by 2025, reaching 500 million, forcing regional governments to not only ramp up efforts to invest in more power capacity, but also putting significant strain on already scarce natural water resources.
The Middle East is one of the most water scarce regions in the world, resulting in significant investment in water infrastructure and non-traditional water technologies such as desalination and wastewater re-use.
Anita Mathews, exhibition director for Power + Water Middle East said: "Growing demand and rapid industrial developments has enabled Middle East countries to continue their run as the most dynamic power and water sectors in the world.
"Power consumption in the MENA region has been growing significantly and is poised to grow at a faster pace in the years to come."For all the latest energy and oil news from the UAE and Gulf countries, follow us on Twitter and Linkedin, like us on Facebook and subscribe to our YouTube page, which is updated daily.