May 15 (UPI) -- Middle East economies are advancing on the renewable energy front as costs decline, but are balanced by a thirst for fossil fuels, a development bank said.
The Arab Petroleum Investments Corp., a regional development bank, reported expectations Tuesday of mixed success for renewable energy. Morocco led the pack by setting a target for 52 percent of its energy mix coming from renewables by 2030. Saudi Arabia, meanwhile, the de facto leader of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries, is gearing toward a 10 percent mix by 2023.
Middle East economies that depend on imports for their energy sources have introduced incentives meant to stimulate renewable power and Morocco is on pace to put 2 gigawatts of solar and wind power on stream each by the end of the decade.
"The declining cost of renewable energy is a good sign," Mustafa Ansari, a senior economist for the bank, said in a statement. "It shows that there is an appetite in the market for investors to support the initiatives in the region."
Saudi Arabia, for its part, is developing renewable energy plans through the newly-minted Ministry of Energy, Industry and Mineral Resources. An economic agenda, dubbed Vision 2030, aims to boost Saudi Arabia's non-oil revenue and relies in part on raising money through the public listing of shares in the Saudi Arabian Oil Co., known also as Saudi Aramco. Billed as the largest-ever IPO, the offering could value the company at $2 trillion.
Financial services company ING said the offering "is a bellwether for Saudi Arabia's push away from a heavy dependence on oil."
For exporters, however, APICORP said large oil and gas reserves for the countries in the region that are members of OPEC, Kuwait and Qatar in particular, mean fossils fuels will continue to dominate the energy landscape.