The Middle East represents a huge opportunity for Concentrating Solar Power (CSP) because it is the one market which can allow CSP to develop on a major scale, which will then enable the technology to become more viable
The Middle East represents a huge opportunity for CSP because it is the one market which can allow CSP to develop on a major scale, which will then enable the technology to become more viable and cost-effective.
As the head lawyer for all things renewable at the British law firm Eversheds, Michelle Davies has worked with governments and companies across the Middle East on their solar energy and wind power programmes.
She was named the Woman of the Year in November by the Middle East Solar Industry Association, a Dubai-based group where she also serves as a board member, for her work with governments in the UAE, Jordan and Saudi Arabia in shaping their solar policy and regulation.
Her work in the region is growing as Jordan embarks on its first utility-scale wind project (with financial backing from the UAE) and Saudi Arabia targets building a whopping 41 gigawatts of solar power in the next two decades.
Those plans could make or break the future of one particular technology – concentrated solar power (CSP), which uses mirrors to amplify the sun’s heat to produce the steam needed to generate power. With the potential to produce energy even at night, CSP could become the answer to the region’s electricity gap. But that depends on a single country – Saudi Arabia – says Ms Davies.
What is the future of the solar market?
Because a lot of the technologies are evolving, there’s still room for the cost to go down. So if a particular market declines or contracts, that can have an impact globally. For example, Saudi Arabia was looking to implement a huge concentrated solar power programme. It was looking at a 41GW solar programme, 25GW of which was to be CSP, and that in itself would have created a viable global CSP market because you would have a sufficient pipeline to encourage investment, make the technology more viable from a cost perspective and bring the cost down.
What are Chinese companies doing to take advantage of that?
The European PV