Qatar, a OPEC member, will be asking firms for a 1,800 megawatt (MW) solar energy plant in 2014 that will cost $10-20 billion. Qatar is the world’s highest per capita greenhouse gas emitter.
“We need to diversify our energy mix,” said Fahad Bin Mohammed al-Attiya, chairman of the Qatari organizers of climate talks in Doha, to Reuters.
As the world’s top exporter of liquefied natural gas (LNG), Qatar “has been wary of a global shift to renewable energy, fearing it will hit demand for oil and gas from OPEC producers.” Thus far, the nation has failed to set clear goals for how to reduce greenhouse gas emissions at the U.N. talks. Qatar has argued that its LNG exports help other nations from turning to a more environmentally-devastating source: Coal.
The solar energy plant is said to power Qatar’s gas fueled desalination plants. The construction of the plant is slated to be complete by 2018. According to Reuters, “once the plant is up and running, the share of renewables in Qatar’s electricity generation energy mix will rise to 16 percent from zero at present.”
The United Nations-led summit is being held among almost 200 nations from November 26-December 7.