Oil price slump puts at risk clean energy push

ABU DHABI - Falling oil prices could have a negative impact on global efforts to develop renewable energy sources, experts warned Saturday at a conference in Abu Dhabi.

Oil prices have fallen by almost 60 percent since June, crashing on worries over global oversupply and weak demand in a faltering world economy.

Participants at the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) conference that opened Saturday in the oil-rich United Arab Emirates (UAE) said the trend could spell doom for plans to shift to clean energy.

The fall in oil prices could be a "game changer", Italy's Deputy Minister for Economic Development Claudio Vincenti told the two-day meeting.

Oil price rises in the past encouraged clean energy investments, said Vincenti, adding that a long-term fall in prices could shift the balance among various energy sources. He did not elaborate.

Salem al-Hajraf, representing oil-rich Kuwait at the conference, agreed that falling oil prices posed a "major challenge" this year as was the case two decades ago.

"The fall of oil prices in the 80s was a main reason behind the collapse of many renewable energy projects," he told participants.
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