Saudi Ara­bia seeks ex­pan­sion in re­new­able en­ergy

Pakistan Observer - - 14 -

Cur­rency Sell­ing Buy­ing RIYADH—Saudi Ara­bia will witness a great ex­pan­sion in re­new­able en­ergy, as es­ti­mates in­di­cate that elec­tric­ity from so­lar power would reach 66,400MW by 2023. Ex­pan­sion plans fall within Saudi Ara­bia’s vi­sion 2030, which is trans­lated in the Na­tional Trans­for­ma­tion Pro­gram, a blue­print to pre­pare the King­dom for the post-oil era. Ahmed Nada, vice chair­man and Mid­dle-East re­gional direc­tor of First So­lar, told lo­cal news­pa­per that Saudi Ara­bia’s nat­u­ral char­ac­ter­is­tics al­low it to pro­duce so­lar en­ergy to cover the King­dom’s needs in elec­tric­ity and other re­lated uses. He added that Saudi Ara­bia’s vi­sion 2030 has re­vealed a de­tailed strat­egy that high­lights the coun­try’s strengths and po­ten­tial ca­pac­i­ties in re­ly­ing on re­new­able en­ergy due to its ge­o­graph­i­cal and cli­matic char­ac­ter­is­tics.

Nada said that the King­dom’s main goal was to mul­ti­ply pro­duc­tive ca­pac­i­ties in re­new­able en­ergy by tak­ing ad­van­tage of the fu­ture de­cline in costs, in­creased com­pe­tence lev­els and open­ness to lat­est tech­nolo­gies. Nada noted that the Saudi gov­ern­ment was keen on pre­serv­ing com­pet­i­tive­ness in the re­new­able en­ergy mar­ket, by grad­u­ally lib­er­at­ing oil prices, which would help Saudi Ara­bia ac­quire ef­fi­cient and mod­ern tech­nolo­gies in re­new­able en­ergy pro­duc­tion. He added that the vi­sion re­flects the King­dom’s am­bi­tions to be­come a lead­ing hub in the pro­duc­tion of re­new­able en­ergy, stress­ing the im­por­tance of Saudi in­vest­ment plans in re­search and devel­op­ment.

En­ergy ex­pert Osama Al-Oth­man said that Saudi Ara­bia can rely on its lo­cal pro­duc­tion of steel, ca­bles and other ma­te­ri­als to ex­pand its so­lar en­ergy in­dus­try. He also high­lighted the need to in­crease and con­sol­i­date part­ner­ships be­tween the pri­vate and public sec­tors and to re­view the legal and or­ga­ni­za­tional frame­work to smooth the growth of pri­vate in­vest­ments in the field of re­new­able en­ergy.

Al-Oth­man said that the gov­ern­ment ini­tia­tive to ex­pand the pro­duc­tion of re­new­able en­ergy would pro­mote part­ner­ships with qual­i­fied ex­perts in this field and al­low the King­dom to over­come ca­pac­ity-build­ing chal­lenges that could be faced in other in­dus­trial mar­kets. Eco­nomic ex­pert Ab­dul Halim Mo­haisen told Asharq Al-Awsat that Saudi Ara­bia was seek­ing to in­vest SR400 bil­lion in so­lar en­ergy in the com­ing years in or­der to cover the in­creased de­mand for elec­tric­ity which is es­ti­mated at 10 per­cent an­nu­ally.

Mean­while, Saudi Aramco and GE are part­ner­ing to in­stall Saudi Ara­bia’s first Wind Tur­bine at the Tu­raif Bulk Plant, lo­cated in the north-west of the King­dom. The ini­tia­tive is in line with Saudi Vi­sion 2030 as en­dorsed by the Saudi Cabi­net that has set an ini­tial tar­get of gen­er­at­ing 9.5 gi­gawatts (GW) of re­new­able en­ergy. The project marks the first re­gional in­stal­la­tion of GE’s ground-break­ing model 2.75-120 Wind Tur­bine, which has been specif­i­cally cus­tom­ized for the King­dom’s cli­matic con­di­tions.

GE’s Wind Tur­bine is a dig­i­tal in­dus­trial so­lu­tion that draws on the In­dus­trial In­ter­net plat­form by an­a­lyz­ing tens of data points ev­ery sec­ond to achieve higher lev­els of en­ergy out­put and greater op­er­a­tional ef­fi­ciency. Ab­du­laziz Al-Ju­daimi, vice pres­i­dent of Power Sys­tems, Saudi Aramco, said: “We are com­mit­ted to ef­fi­ciently meet­ing the King­dom’s en­ergy de­mand through our fuel op­ti­miza­tion pro­gram and by sup­port­ing re­new­able en­ergy devel­op­ment. The demo in­stal­la­tion of GE’s Wind Tur­bine will en­able the Saudi Aramco and GE teams to build ex­per­tise in ex­e­cut­ing wind projects in the King­dom.” Hisham Al­bahkali, GE’s pres­i­dent & CEO for Saudi Ara­bia and Bahrain, said: “The in­stal­la­tion of GE’s Wind Tur­bine by Saudi Aramco, our long-term part­ner, un­der­lines our com­mit­ment to pro­mot­ing re­new­able en­ergy in the King­dom. This sta­teof-the-art wind tur­bine is de­signed for chal­leng­ing con­di­tions. Build­ing on our global op­er­at­ing ex­pe­ri­ence in desert ar­eas, we have worked with Saudi Aramco’s team to cus­tom­ize the tur­bine and op­ti­mize its per­for­mance for the King­dom.—Agen­cies

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