As the world increasingly shifts towards renewable energy sources, a groundbreaking study reveals the immense potential of wind and solar energy in the Eastern Mediterranean and Middle East (EMME) region by 2050. The study, conducted by the Climate and Atmosphere Research Center of the Cyprus Institute, highlights that the region could meet most of its growing energy demand through utility-scale renewable energy sources (RES).

Key Highlights:

  • The study projects that 89% of the projected energy demand in the EMME region by 2050 could be met through utility-scale renewable energy sources
  • Egypt emerges as a “power house”, with the potential to achieve a surplus energy production of 76 GW per hour, and become a RES hub in the region
  • Solar resources in Cyprus, Greece and Turkey are highly predictable though with substantial variability during winter; especially Cyprus will need storage capacity
  • The United Arab Emirates and Iran may face electricity deficits if solely relying on their utility-scale RES potential

The transition from conventional fuels to renewable energy sources has opened up unprecedented opportunities for energy self-sufficiency. With utility-scale solar and wind energy shaping the transition, precise location siting is crucial to ensure efficient integration into the grid, considering current and future climate variables.

The study, utilizing a meteorological and atmospheric chemical forecasting system, provides crucial insights into the technical potential of RES in all EMME countries. By mapping hourly generation profiles per source and country, simulated for the year 2015 and the future up to 2050, the study identifies potential energy surpluses and deficits across the region.

2050 Energy Demand Supplied by RES in EMME

PhD candidate Pantelis Kiriakidis, lead author of the study, commented:

“Our findings indicate a transformative potential for the EMME region, with the possibility of seven countries becoming net energy exporters by 2050. However, it’s imperative for policymakers to take into account the complementary and substitute relationships between solar and wind energy generation, as well as seasonal variations, for effective energy planning.”

The study identifies four dominant patterns of wind and solar energy generation, providing valuable insights for energy system operators. With Greece showcasing near-constant wind energy potential, for example, the country is well-positioned for seamless grid integration.

As the world looks towards a sustainable energy future, leveraging the abundant wind and solar resources in the EMME region could pave the way for significant socioeconomic and environmental benefits.

The study is published in the journal Science of the Total Environment: