An expensive diversion: Abu Dhabi's renewables investments in the context of its natural gas shortage
AbstractIn the midst of a shortage of natural gas, Abu Dhabi has launched an investment into renewable energy. Why? Will renewables allow the Persian Gulf sheikhdom to meet rising electricity demand without simultaneous increases in conventional power? No. Even in one of the world’s sunniest places – but not one of its windiest – conventional solar generation is unable to handle a demand peak that extends past sundown. Renewables offer an intermittent electricity supply at a much higher average cost than the existing gasfired system. Abu Dhabi will be neither able to forgo construction of a single conventional generating plant, nor reduce its reliance on gas imports from Qatar. The contribution to energy security will be negligible. This paper finds two main benefits, among several limitations. First, renewables may allow reduced fuel consumption in conventional power plants, which will cut carbon emissions and burning of expensive backup fuels. Second, the highly publicized investment has improved the regime’s international image, bringing acclaim as a leader in clean energy, despite its status as a key OPEC oil producer. In the political context of a rentier monarchy, such prestige is as an important source of domestic legitimacy.
Download InfoIf you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.
Bibliographic InfoPaper provided by Faculty of Economics, University of Cambridge in its series Cambridge Working Papers in Economics with number 1237.
Date of creation: 04 Oct 2012
Date of revision:
Contact details of provider:
Web page: http://www.econ.cam.ac.uk/index.htm
renewables; natural gas; energy security; subsidies; Abu Dhabi; United Arab Emirates; Persian Gulf; GCC; OPEC; rentier state; monarchy;
Find related papers by JEL classification:
- O13 - Economic Development, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Agriculture; Natural Resources; Environment; Other Primary Products
- P42 - Economic Systems - - Other Economic Systems - - - Productive Enterprises; Factor and Product Markets; Prices
- Q41 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Energy - - - Demand and Supply; Prices
- Q42 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Energy - - - Alternative Energy Sources
- Q48 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Energy - - - Government Policy
This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:
- NEP-ALL-2012-10-13 (All new papers)
- NEP-ARA-2012-10-13 (MENA - Middle East & North Africa)
- NEP-ENE-2012-10-13 (Energy Economics)
- NEP-ENV-2012-10-13 (Environmental Economics)
You can help add them by filling out this form.
reading list or among the top items on IDEAS.Access and download statisticsgeneral information about how to correct material in RePEc.
For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Howard Cobb).
If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.
If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.
If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link to it, you can help with this form.
If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.
Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.