MEA region urged to use renewable energy in tackling water scarcity

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Experts from the World Resources Institute (WRI) have advised North African and Middle Eastern countries to shift from fossil fuel electricity generation to renewable energy in a bid to cope with freshwater scarcity.

Tianyi Luo, a senior WRI manager, says new findings show moving to clean energy has benefits aside from cutting planet-warming greenhouse gas emissions.

According to the report, Yemen, Saudi Arabia, Oman, Libya, Algeria, Morocco, the United Arab Emirates and Jordan have been ranked among the top countries, measured by lack of freshwater and solar energy potential, that could benefit from such a switch.

According to energy and water analyst at the U.S. National Renewable Energy Laboratory Jordan Macknick, the aforementioned countries boast of high-average resources for both solar and wind. These could be put to very productive uses, a move that in turn will potentially assist them in their water-related challenges.

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Solar panels, are not only a cheaper option, but they require little or no water to install and maintain. This is in comparison to a 60-watt incandescent light bulb which for 12 hours, over one  year consumes 3,000 to 6,000 gallons of water.

Yemen topped the WRI ranking in terms of water scarcity and how much potential electricity solar farms could produce. Saudi Arabia, the world’s top oil exporter, ranked third.

Moreover, the country recently increased its involvement in expanding solar energy with an announcement of investments to create the world’s biggest solar power project. According to media reports, the project will have the capacity to produce up to 200 gigawatts by 2030.

Despite its unparalleled wealth in oil, Yemen is struggling to adopt renewable energy solutions.