Renewable energy utilization to promote sustainability in GCC countries: policies, drivers, and barriers

Karim Malik, Syed Masiur Rahman*, Abu Nasser Khondaker, Ismaila Rimi Abubakar, Yusuf Adedoyin Aina, Md Arif Hasan

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

63 Scopus citations


There is a growing focus on the role of renewable energy (RE) policies such as feed-in tariffs (FITs), renewable portfolio standards (RPSs), subsidies, incentives, and research and development in the global energy policy mix and in promoting environmental sustainability. Although most developed countries have well-formulated RE policies, in developing countries, such policies face many barriers. This study analyzes the policies, drivers, and barriers to RE deployment for fostering environmental sustainability in the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries. In the GCC region, the need for economic diversification to reduce dependency on single resource, diminishing hydrocarbon reserve, loss of oil export revenue, climate change mitigation pledges, and abundant solar energy resource are the key drivers for diversifying energy sources to include RE. However, the apparent lack of consolidated policy framework for wide-scale RE utilization calls for a well-articulated policy to advance RE development in each member state. Although FIT and RPS approaches could be effective for initial deployment of small-scale RE projects, a competitive tendering and auctioning mechanisms are more suitable for large-scale projects. Whereas, developing effective energy codes could successfully promote RE deployment, the increased share of RE in energy supply would have synergistic impacts on the region. The GHG emissions avoidance expected to be achieved by the GCC countries will vary between 5 and 247 million tons of CO2 equivalent by 2030. The fulfillment of inspirational RE targets for 2030 would contribute in fulfilling climate change mitigation pledges, environmental sustainability, economic growth, and generating new jobs.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)20798-20814
Number of pages17
JournalEnvironmental Science and Pollution Research
Issue number20
StatePublished - 1 Jul 2019

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Acknowledgements The authors would like to gratefully acknowledge the support of King Fahd University of Petroleum & Minerals (KFUPM) in conducting this research.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2019, Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature.


  • Energy policy
  • Environmental sustainability
  • Feed-in tariffs
  • GCC countries
  • Greenhouse gas
  • Renewable energy

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Environmental Chemistry
  • Pollution
  • Health, Toxicology and Mutagenesis


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