Recognising the programmes initiated by Qatar to advance its renewable-to-fossil transition, Knight emphasised the urgency for accelerated progress on a global scale.
“Qatar is sort of ‘leapfrogging’ some other markets in terms of its rapid energy transition, which is noteworthy, ” Knight told Gulf Times in an exclusive interview on the sidelines of Qatar Economic Forum, Powered by Bloomberg, where she participated in the breakout session ‘Scaling Up Climate Finance: Overcoming Barriers to Green Growth’.
“But at the same time, the energy economy globally needs to move from investment ratios of ‘one-to-one’ (renewables to fossil fuels) to scaling up renewables to ‘10-to-one’ by 2050,” she stressed. Knight further explained that “from the one-to-one today, we need to go to four-to-one in favour of renewables by 2030, six-to-one by 2040, and 10-to-one by 2050. Whilst that enabling environment in Qatar is particularly good to try and get the renewable to fossil ratio up, on a global scale, we need to try and make it happen faster.”
Zoe Knight, HSBC Group Head, Centre of Sustainable Finance, Head of Climate Change MENAT.
The Investment Promotion Agency Qatar (IPA Qatar) reported in its ‘Cleantech Sectoral Study’ that government policies and advanced technological infrastructure present investment opportunities worth $75bn in Qatar’s cleantech sector by 2030.
In the pipeline are investments to develop 100% electric vehicles by 2030, the plan to provide and install over 600 charging devices in various domestic facilities, and the establishment of the “world’s largest e-bus depot,” the report stated.
In terms of energy initiatives, QatarEnergy’s new sustainability strategy includes plans to reduce the carbon intensity of its LNG facilities by 35% by 2030 and mandates the deployment of Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS) facilities to capture more than 7Mtpa of CO2 in the country.
The report also stated that Qatar was the first GCC country to implement a waste-to-energy programme that currently generates over 30MW of electricity from its Domestic Solid Waste Management Centre (DSWMC) at Mesaeeid.
Qatar is also moving towards solar energy adoption and is utilising renewable resources, stated the report, citing the installation of an 800 megawatt (MW) additional capacity of renewable energy sources that range from gas-based to photovoltaics (PV) and wind power, as well as major solar projects like Al Kharsaah (Siraj solar power plant), and Qatar Solar Technologies’ (QSTec) aim to develop a $1bn polysilicon production facility.
In the GCC region, where oil and gas supplies are abundant, Knight emphasised the need for “balancing the economy-wide framework that allows for clean electrification of processes.”
“This decarbonises the operations of gas-fired power stations and oil extraction so that the carbon intensity of those fossil fuels is going down, and the volume of capacity in clean energy is going up, at a globally significant rate,” Knight stressed.
Asked about HSBC’s role in overcoming specific challenges and opportunities in scaling up climate finance, Knight said HSBC can bring new businesses and new technologies, as well as capacity building, to the Qatar market to help with the transition of the energy system to renewables.
“But an important aspect is that we can provide global investors with the assurance that Qatar is focused on the climate agenda and scaling up a clean energy system. In Qatar and in other markets, we’ve got subject matter experts who have worked in policy-enabling environments and for governments,” she said.