Increasing power capacity will be a major priority for regional governments over the next two decades as they grapple with the dual demands of rapid population growth and industrialisation. As governments look to increase capacity, attention is being paid to how energy resources can be utilised most effectively.

In previous years, when regional states were expanding power capacity, the abundance of cheap oil and gas supplies meant that efficiency and the environment were not at the top of government agendas. However, rising fuel prices have forced rulers to reconsider their approach.

Combined-cycle technology has been utilised in Europe and the US for a number of years, and has been proven to increase the output of power plants by up to 50 per cent. While the technology increases the initial capital expenditure, the long-term benefits and cost savings should make employing combined-cycle plants a simple decision. Saudi Arabia has committed to implementing combined-cycle technology to improve the efficiency of its existing infrastructure.

Regional governments are also increasingly turning to alternative energy resources. Ras al-Khaimah is set to build the GCC’s first clean coal-fired plant and Riyadh is planning to follow the UAE into the nuclear power sector. Saudi Arabia and the UAE are also intending to introduce renewable energy into the mix, with both planning to build large solar power schemes by 2030.

By reducing long-term expenditure and reducing carbon emissions, the region’s shift towards efficient power is something to be admired and encouraged.