GRM 2010 GRM 2011

Abstract Details

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Title of Paper:
“The challenges facing the GCC countries for the development of solar and nuclear energy sources in the power generation sector using the framework of the Multi-Level Perspective”
Paper Proposal Text :
Workshop 7: Sustainable Development Challenges in the GCC


In the last decade the two inter-related issues of sustainable development and the diversification of the energy sources of the GCC has gained more and more momentum in the GCC region as a result of a number of factors that can be summarized in the following points: An increased domestic consumption of energy, especially in the power generation sector, and particularly in supplying power for seawater desalination, that is putting an increased pressure on the production of oil and gas and on the available volumes for export; climate change concerns that are now considered as an urgent by governments, non-governmental organizations (NGOs), international organizations and industry, including the GCC governments as they are perceived internationally as the main countries that are blocking the international climate change negotiations.

The combination of the two above-mentioned factors has, indeed, provoked a new approach to the diversification of the energy sources by the GCC governments. This can be very clearly perceived in the multiplication of the projects for the production of electricity through nuclear or solar energy sources, as exemplified by the Masdar project in the UAE, that will rely on solar energy, and the projects for building a number of nuclear reactors for the production of electricity in the UAE and Saudi Arabia. As a consequence of these projects, it is very clear that solar and nuclear energy, have been selected as the two main viable and technically feasible alternative energy technologies by the GCC governments.

Grounded on this new international and regional energy environments, it is proposed, through this paper, to identify the motives behind the choice of solar and nuclear energy, and to assess the potential obstacles and opportunities for their development in the power generation sector in the GCC region through the lens of the “multi-level perspective (MLP). In other terms, to identify the potential obstacles and opportunities that will be facing the rentier states of the GCC, within the framework of the multi-level perspective as defined in the literature dealing with energy transitions, for the development of nuclear and solar energy technologies in their energy mix? This paper is an attempt at proposing a new analytical approach, the MLP, for studying energy transitions within the context of the GCC countries, in the case of nuclear energy, as we have noticed that the academic literature dealing with energy issues, within the framework of a sustainable development, in the Gulf lacks the all-encompassing approach proposed by the MLP.