The Middle East and North Africa’s (MENA) energy systems could rely primarily on renewables by 2030.
That’s according to researchers from the Lappeenranta University of Technology (LUT) in Finland, who have shown major oil producing countries in the MENA region could turn their abundant renewable energy resources into lucrative business opportunities in less than two decades.
The study suggests a fully renewable electricity system in the regions could be up to 60% cheaper than other low carbon energy options.
For example, new nuclear power costs around €110/MWh (£95.68) and fossil fuel carbon capture and storage options cost around €120/MWh (£104.3).
In contrast, the cost of renewable energy electricity would be around €40-€60/MWh (£34.8-£52.17).
The cost of wind and solar electricity would reduce further to €37-€55/MWh (£32.17-£47.8) if different energy resources were connected with a super grid that allows the transmission of high volumes of electricity across longer distances.
For Iran, the price could go as low as €40/MWh (£34.8).
Professor Christian Breyer from the university said: “The low cost renewable electricity system is a driver for growing standards of living, continued economic growth, in particular also for energy intensive products and finally more peace.
“The picture that emerges from that study is that the fossil fuel industry can transform its business to meet the COP21 target of a net zero emission energy system. This requires fundamental change in how we think carbon but it could potentially open major new business opportunities.”
Germany is to further develop a finance platform to help developing nations become more sustainable.