The Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries are likely to spend up to $25 billion (Dh91.80 billion) over the next decade to install new power generation capacity to meet their burgeoning electricity demand, Director General of the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) Adnan Ameen said here yesterday. “As a result of high economic and population growth rates, regional energy demand and electricity consumption are increasing rapidly. Just to meet this demand, the GCC will require 100 GW (gigawatts) of additional power-generating capacity over the next ten years. This translates to an investment of $25 billion,” Ameen told delegates at a conference on global energy organized by the Emirates Centre for Strategic Studies and Research (ECSSR) in Abu Dhabi yesterday. Ameen said the rapid increase in electricity consumption is having a substantial effect on the region’s oil and gas industries, the UAE daily (Gulf News) reported Wednesday. “It is boosting demand for natural gas, which is creating a gas supply shortage in the region. It is also boosting demand for the region’s heavily subsidized hydrocarbons which, in turn, is reducing the volumes exported and the revenues received,” he added. Ameen said the UAE has taken bold strides towards diversifying its energy sources and creating a more sustainable future for its population. It has launched the Masdar initiative, investing billions of dollars in developing renewable energy projects, including Masdar City, the world’s first zero-carbon zero-waste city; and the Masdar Institute, which is focused on research into alternative energy technologies and sustainable development issues. He said other GCC countries are investing in renewable energy projects as well. “Bahrain is planning a large offshore wind farm; Kuwait aims to install considerable solar generation capacity; Oman is planning six renewable energy pilot projects; Qatar is considering investments in seven solar plants and Saudi Arabia has plans for $133 million in renewable energy projects.” Ameen said Irena foresees that by the middle of this century, renewable energy has the potential to become a leading economic sector in GCC countries.