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2021 | OriginalPaper | Chapter

4. The Rise of Renewables in the Gulf States: Is the ‘Rentier Effect’ Still Holding Back the Energy Transition?

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Abstract

Since 2018, the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) states have begun planning and deploying renewable energy projects on a larger scale than ever before, kickstarting a belated green energy transition. Despite their long-standing roles in the conventional energy world, and the abundance of both capital and solar resources, these states were rather late to the game. What explains the late start? What has changed in the political economy of these states that makes these new set of plans more credible? And what explains some of the differences between these states’ deployment strategies and capabilities? The chapter will begin by giving a historical and contemporary overview of the renewable energy landscape in the GCC countries over the past decade, looking both at the distributed and utility scales. Saudi Arabia will be taken as an in-depth case study, because of its size and fiscal situation. The chapter will argue that the rentier economic model explains why the block as a whole began deploying renewable energy relatively late, considering its resources. An argument will be made that rents do not explain the variation we now observe in ambition, strategy, and execution of renewable energy projects. Rather, economic dynamism, client and rent seeking pressures, soft power projection, and political leadership, are some of the reasons for this divergence.
Metadata
Title
The Rise of Renewables in the Gulf States: Is the ‘Rentier Effect’ Still Holding Back the Energy Transition?
Author
Faris Al-Sulayman
Copyright Year
2021
DOI
https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-030-59554-8_4

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