Astana, Jun 9 (EFE).- UAE’s Minister of Energy, Suhail Al Mazroui, on Friday called for a timeline of up to 30 years when planning the use of energy resources, warning against destroying the economy by solely seeking renewable energies.
“Every country needs to have a plan not for 10 years, 20 years, but perhaps for 2050 to achieve net-zero emissions,” he said at a panel during the Astana International Forum.
“And we need to identify practical steps that also allow economic growth because otherwise, we wouldn’t be practical if we said we can shut down the economy just to achieve that goal,” the Minister said.
“There are things we can do, like in the OPEC+ alliance. We’re in the midst of a transition and net-zero emissions are very important to us. But if we don’t have the resources for that transition, the global economy will have a problem and all of us will be affected,” he said.
He explained that in the UAE, which will host COP28 between November and December, the focus is on investing in renewable energies and diversifying energy resources, as well as ensuring global energy needs for the next 10 to 15 years are met.
Al Mazroui indicated that he is also promoting electric interconnections with other countries, like Kazakhstan, whose Minister of Energy, Almassadam Satkaliyev, mentioned that his country has in turn developed a common electric grid with Russia and other Central Asian partners.
Al Mazroui further affirmed that energy consumption needed to be reduced on an individual and national level, and there should be inter-nation collaboration in research and development of new technologies to economically produce hydrogen or small modular reactors for nuclear energy, among other things.
The Kazakh minister pointed out that his country strongly leans towards self-sufficiency, not only for potential global risks but also to leverage the unique potential of Central Asia’s largest economy, rich in natural resources and hydrocarbons.
Satkaliyev said Kazakhstan plans to become a net exporter of green electricity to neighboring countries and Europe, and explained that along with Azerbaijan, the country has begun to explore new projects, like laying high-voltage cables under the Caspian Sea, connecting Kazakhstan with Turkey and Europe.
“We understand that clean electricity will give us some export preferences and also cover our needs. But we must not underestimate the role of natural gas as a fuel to replace coal,” he said.
European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) President, Odile Renaud-Basso, also on the panel, said she believed the goals of “growth, energy security, and green transition must go hand in hand.”
“I would say that energy security is probably the topic that has returned to the agenda very quickly since last year with the challenges faced by several countries during the energy crisis,” she said.
She noted that the green transition would carry a cost and require a lot of investment, particularly in emerging economies.
She recalled that the World Bank has estimated financial needs for the green transition at 1% over time in developed economies and 7% in emerging markets.
“It’s a big effort, but it’s also a great opportunity for businesses and new activities” in this field, she said, especially if the percentage of renewables in the energy basket increases from 33% to 80% by 2050, as some international estimates predict. EFE