Iran and Middle East to go 100% renewable by 2030?
Iran can transition to a fully renewable electricity system and financially benefit from it by 2030, according to a recent report.
Researchers at Lappeenranta University of Technology (LUT) have revealed that major oil-producing countries in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region could eventually turn their abundant renewable energy resources into lucrative business opportunities in less than two decades.
According to the study, a fully renewable electricity system (100 percent RE) is roughly 50-60 percent cheaper than other emission-free energy options for the MENA region.
To put that into perspective, new nuclear power costs around 110 euros per megawatt hour
Fossil-CCS option costs around 120 euros per megawatt hour. But the cost of the fully renewable energy electricity is around 60–40 euros per megawatt hour, based on financial and technical assumptions of the year 2030.
The cost of wind and solar electricity would reduce further to 37-55 euros per megawatt hour 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 40-45 euros per megawatt hour. Such low-cost show that the transition of the current fossil-based electricity system towards a fully renewable electricity system can cover all electricity needs in the decades to come.
"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," emphasizes Professor Christian Breyer.
Transforming the electricity system fully to renewables for Iran requires 49 gigawatts of solar photovoltaics, 77 gigawatts of wind power and 21 gigawatts of hydropower. Most of the hydropower already exists, but the solar and wind capacities would require new investments. Wind power can be installed in many parts of the country and solar systems in all parts of Iran for an attractive cost. Both technologies can be easily added to the existing energy infrastructure, which is mainly based on flexible fossil natural gas fired power plants plus hydropower.
The scientists also prepared a renewable oil refining scenario in which fossil fuels are replaced by synthetically produced from carbon dioxide, water and electricity. With this so-called power-to-fuel technology, 100% renewable system can still use carbon fuels and chemicals for aviation, materials and medicine. These are the most difficult sectors to decarbonise because batteries are too heavy for powering airplanes and carbon atom is needed in plastics and various chemicals such as solvents and medicine.
"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," says Breyer.
GfK and VMware: Innovating together on hybrid cloud
GfK has been the global leader in data and analytics for more than 85 years, supplying its clients with optimised decision inputs.
In its capacity as a strategic and technical partner, VMware has been walking GfK along its digital transformation path for over a decade.
“We are a demanding and singularly dynamic customer, which is why a close partnership with VMware is integral to the success of everyone involved,” said Joerg Hesselink, Global Head of Infrastructure, GfK IT Services.
Four years ago, the Nuremberg-based researcher expanded its on-premises infrastructure by introducing VMware vRealize Automation. In doing so, it laid a solid foundation, resulting in a self-service hybrid-cloud environment.
By expanding on the basis of VMware Cloud on AWS and VMware Cloud Foundation with vRealize Cloud Management, GfK has given itself a secure infrastructure and reliable operations by efficiently operating processes, policies, people and tools in both private and public cloud environments.
One important step for GfK involved migrating from multiple cloud providers to just a single one. The team chose VMware.
“VMware is the market leader for on-premises virtualisation and hybrid-cloud solutions, so it was only logical to tackle the next project for the future together,” says Hesselink.
Migration to the VMware-based environment was integrated into existing hardware simply and smoothly in April 2020. Going forward, GfK’s new hybrid cloud model will establish a harmonised core system complete with VMware Cloud on AWS, VMware Cloud Foundation with vRealize Cloud Management and a volume rising from an initial 500 VMs to a total of 4,000 VMs.
“We are modernising, protecting and scaling our applications with the world’s leading hybrid cloud solution: VMware Cloud on AWS, following VMware on Google Cloud Platform,” adds Hesselink.
The hybrid cloud-based infrastructure also empowers GfK to respond to new and future projects with astonishing agility: Resources can now be shifted quickly and easily from the private to the public cloud – without modifying the nature of interaction with the environment.
The gfknewron project is a good example – the company’s latest AI-powered product is based exclusively on public cloud technology. The consistency guaranteed by VMware Cloud on AWS eases the burden on both regular staff and the IT team. Better still, since the teams are already familiar with the VMware environment, the learning curve for upskilling is short.
One very important factor for the GfK was that VMware Cloud on AWS constituted an investment in future-proof technology that will stay relevant.
“The new cloud-based infrastructure comprising VMware Cloud on AWS and VMware Cloud Foundation forges a successful link between on-premises and cloud-based solutions,” says Hesselink. “That in turn enables GfK to efficiently develop its own modern applications and solutions.
“In market research, everything is data-driven. So, we need the best technological basis to efficiently process large volumes of data and consistently distill them into logical insights that genuinely benefit the client.
“We transform data and information into actionable knowledge that serves as a sustainable driver of business growth. VMware Cloud on AWS is an investment in a platform that helps us be well prepared for whatever the future may hold.”