Qatar is aiming to generate 16% of its electricity from solar power by 2018, according to Fahad Bin Mohammed al-Attiya, chairman of the organizers of the climate change conference in Doha.
Qatar, an OPEC nation, currently has the highest per capita greenhouse gas emissions in the world, and is the world’s current top exporter of liquefied natural gas. Until now, it hasn’t shown any shift towards renewable energy, like the majority of OPEC nations haven’t. Presumably, these countries worry that it may damage the fossil fuel market.
“We are working on a project to develop 1,800 megawatts of solar power,” said Fahad Bin Mohammed al-Attiya. “That will be 16 percent of our total electrical output.” The project is projected to be ready by 2018. Currently, the country receives a negligible amount of their electrify from solar power.
“It makes sense for us,” he said. “We will also have a feed-in tariff system so that people can put solar systems on their roof and contribute to the grid.”
“All these measures have been applied now because solar prices are becoming reasonable and competitive. With the amount of solar hours we have it is economically feasible,” Fahad Bin Mohammed al-Attiya noted.
Qatar has been criticized by environmentalists for its failure to set clear goals for reducing its greenhouse gas emissions.
Last year, in a report provided to the United Nations, the country wrote:
“Qatar is pursuing voluntarily a national initiative to reduce greenhouse gas emissions as long as they are in line with sustainable development.
“To Qatar, climate change represents a double jeopardy.”
That last line is in reference to the fact that climate change is a threat to the country’s fragile desert living environment, but also that effective action to address it would undermine international demand for fossil fuels, and potentially their economy.