The oil price drop in 2014 has led countries in the GCC to think of better and alternative ways to generate energy other than consistent reliance on the oil. Governments within the GCC are all turning to explore the option of producing energy from waste which is in line with the UAE’s goal 2021 to divert 75 percent of solid waste away from landfills.
According to Khaled Al Huraimel, group CEO of Sharjah-based environmental and waste management company Bee’ah, the current level of solid waste is projected to increase as a result of the exponential rate of urbanization in the Middle East.
He added that Bee’ah in partnership with Masdar is set to construct a Waste To Energy (WTE) facility that will convert up to 37.5 tonnes of solid waste per hour, capable of adding an additional 39mw of green energy to the city’s electricity grid and help provide electricity to several homes. The project is in the right direction as the need to divert from fossil fuel to fulfill the Paris climate agreement is necessary and it has the potential to absorb thousands of tonnes of carbon dioxide and save several volumes of natural gases.
According to Bader Al Lamki, executive director of clean energy at Masdar, the tremendous rate at which solid waste is generated in the UAE signifies the WTE projects will triumph and there are several projects in the pipeline that will revolutionize the GCC’s energy sector. He said unlike other forms of renewable energies such as solar and wind, WTE is inexhaustible and can be implemented anywhere. He, however, noted that because the idea of WTE is new, technological advancement, financial assistance to construct environmentally conscious plants and policy formulations to discourage people from sending waste to landfills are required to facilitate the process. Al Huraimel also stated the need for public education on the technology, saying when the people understand WTE first and foremost as a sustainable waste management strategy, and also as a source to generate energy, then countries within the GCC can secure their lawful place as leaders in WTE initiatives.