UK investment can help drive GCC’s transition to renewable energy

1 July, 2021 12:00 AM printer

LONDON: UK expertise and investment can help drive the GCC’s transition to renewable energy, experts said, as the region diversifies its economy from a reliance on hydrocarbons.

Tim Callen, assistant director, Middle East and Centre Asia at the International Monetary Fund, said many of the regional reforms taking place are exactly what is needed to diversify the economy, with renewable energy set to be a key growth area along with tourism and Islamic finance, report agencies.

“Renewable energy is clearly one area of growth, which in some sense when you’re blessed with oil resources seems a little odd. But clearly the region is blessed also with a lot of sun and wind in certain areas,” Mr Callen told delegates attending the GCC-UK Trade Circle Summit on Tuesday.

While the GCC is already actively leveraging its abundant renewable energy resources to slash its carbon footprint, Britain could become a key global collaborator due to its GreenTech expertise.

Meanwhile, energy transition and the journey to net zero is equally important for investment from the GCC to the UK.

In the year of the UK’s twin presidency of the G7 and the Cop26 environment summit, Britain has set the world’s most ambitious climate change target: to reduce emissions by 68 per cent by 2030 compared with 1990 levels, by 78 per cent by 2035, and to be net zero by 2050.

This falls in line with the Paris Agreement temperature goal to limit global warming to well below 2°C and pursue efforts towards 1.5°C.

Matthew Hurn, executive director and chief financial officer for disruptive investments at Abu Dhabi’s Mubadala Investment Company, said Britain’s climate change goals offer opportunities for GCC investors

“Obviously, the UK will host Cop26 later this year. They are starting already at the G7 to talk about advances and commitments to get to net zero,” he told delegates at the trade summit.

“And if they are looking at things around energy storage, electric vehicles. There are so many opportunities there.”

In turn, the GCC offers lucrative investment opportunities for British firms with expertise in the renewable sectors to invest in the region.