Renewables and the Future of Geopolitics - Closed workshop
The Policy Center for the New South and the King Abdullah Petroleum Studies and Research Center are pleased to organize a close workshop under theme “Renewables and the Future of Geopolitics” on Monday, March 21, 2022, starting 09:00 am GMT+1.
This workshop will address an increasingly salient topic that sits at the intersection between energy transition, interstate relations and global trade: how the penetration of renewable energy affects geopolitics. As the recently published article by Hatipoglu, Al Muhanna and Efird (2020) demonstrate, this topic relates to various issues of immediate interest to energy markets. For instance, electricity creates a new form of interdependency between states, where such trade also locks in carbon trade. Energy transition also rests on global availability of various rare earth minerals critical to the production of batteries and renewable electricity generation equipment. States that produce these minerals have been attempting to move down the value chain to capture more revenue from value added products, forcing a re-equilibration in global trade relations, inevitably resulting in global tensions.
Understanding geopolitical implications of renewables is critical for the Saudi and Moroccan Energy Ecosystems on many fronts. For example, developing a strong renewable infrastructure within will allow the Kingdom to export more oil. Saudi oil with low-carbon footprint is expected to become a more sought-after commodity with the enactment of border carbon adjustment tax (or its derivatives) in major consumer markets, such as the U.S. and the EU. The same holds for renewable Moroccan energy reaching to global markets. Understanding the geopolitical determinants of renewable adoption will allow Moroccan and Saudi policy makers to better forecast market demand for hydrocarbons, and energy-intensive industrial goods. Planning of labor resources for a green future is another challenge. Finally, the trade of renewable energy underpins the whole net-zero agenda (including the Circular Carbon Economy effort), especially with implications for how to reuse and recycle carbon.
- Survey latest literature on the geopolitics of renewable energy.
- Populate a risk and opportunity registry for Morocco and Saudi Arabia with respect to geopolitical developments stemming from the global advent of renewables.
- List actionable policy items to situate the two countries in a central position in the export of low-carbon energy.
- Identify areas of future research with other top institutions in the region, and around the world.