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Wind and solar could power Eastern Mediterranean and Middle East by 2050

Study shows wind and solar's vital role in EMME region

Newsroom / CNA

The significant potential and great potential of wind and solar energy in the Eastern Mediterranean and Middle East (EMME) region up to 2050 is revealed in a study conducted by the Climate and Atmosphere Research Center (CARE-C) of the Cyprus Institute (CyI) and published in the prestigious journal Science of the Total Environment, noting that the region could meet most of its growing energy demand through utility-scale Renewable Energy Sources.

According to an Institute statement today, the study, utilizing a meteorological and atmospheric chemical forecasting system, provides crucial insights into the RES technical potential in all EMME countries, while by mapping hourly generation profiles per source and country, simulated starting in 2015 up to 2050, it identifies potential energy surpluses and deficits across the region.

It is added that in parallel, the study identifies four dominant wind and solar power generation patterns, providing valuable insights for energy system operators, indicating for example that Greece has the potential for seamless integration into the grid, as it presents almost continuous wind power potential.

According to the study's key findings, 89% of the projected energy demand in the EMME region by 2050 could be met by utility-scale renewable energy sources, even predicting that Egypt will emerge as a "powerhouse", with the potential to achieve 76 GW per hour of surplus power generation and become a renewable energy hub in the region.

With regard to Cyprus, Greece and Turkey, it is stated that solar resources are highly predictable, though with substantial volatility during the winter, adding that Cyprus is expected to need storage capacity, while the UAE and Iran may face electricity deficits if they rely solely on renewables.

Overall, it is noted that wind power potential is generally low, with only limited areas meeting the required wind speed criteria, with countries such as Cyprus, Israel, and Lebanon having only 2-6 grid sites that meet the specified standards, while in contrast Greece, Oman, and Yemen have the highest potential for offshore wind power plants.

With regard to Cyprus in particular, it is stated that the island presents a strong inverse relationship between wind and solar energy and requires energy storage solutions.

The strong inverse relationship between wind and solar power sources observed in Cyprus can lead to reduced total generation at two tipping points, when wind power generation starts to decrease and before solar radiation starts to increase, and vice versa, creating the need for short-term energy storage systems, it is added in this regard.

According to the study's lead author, PhD candidate Pantelis Kyriakidis, the findings of the study indicate the transformative potential for the EMME region, with the possibility of seven countries becoming net energy exporters by 2050.

He also notes that it is imperative that policy makers take into account the complementary and substitute relationships between solar and wind energy generation, as well as seasonal variations, for effective energy planning.

Cyprus  |  solar  |  energy

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