En­ergy min­is­ter re­veals King­dom’s am­bi­tious elec­tric­ity plans


RIYADH: Min­is­ter of En­ergy, In­dus­try and Min­eral Re­sources Khalid Al-Falih says that Saudi Ara­bia plans to sup­ply elec­tric­ity to Ethiopia through its pri­va­ti­za­tion pro­grams.

Dur­ing his in­au­gu­ra­tion of the Saudi Elec­tric­ity Fo­rum at the Faisaliah Ho­tel in Riyadh on Tues­day, Al-Falih ex­plained that the King­dom plans to sup­ply elec­tric­ity to Ethiopia through its grid in Egypt some time in the next three years. He added that, through its planned grid in Turkey, the King­dom would also have the op­por­tu­nity to sup­ply power to Euro­pean coun­tries in the fu­ture.

Power grids in Gulf Co­op­er­a­tion Coun­cil (GCC) coun­tries have been in­ter­con­nected since 2011, Al-Falih pointed out. The Gulf Co­op­er­a­tion Coun­cil Coun­tries In­ter­con­nec­tion Grid (GCCIG) has a to­tal ca­pac­ity of 1,200 megawatts (MW) and links Saudi Ara­bia, the UAE, Kuwait, Bahrain, Qatar and Oman.

Saudi’s in­ter­con­nec­tion with Egypt will gen­er­ate 3,000 megawatts in 2020, Al-Falih claimed.

He also con­firmed that the King­dom will use atomic en­ergy to gen­er­ate elec­tric­ity for the first time in a bid to boost the national econ­omy and to en­sure a com­pet­i­tive en­ergy sec­tor.

Ad­dress­ing the fo­rum later, Ma­her bin Ab­dul­lah Al-Odan, CEO of the Atomic En­ergy Sec­tor of the King Ab­dul­lah City for Atomic and Re­new­able En­ergy (KA-CARE), said work is al­ready un­der­way to iden­tify suit­able sites for two nu­clear re­ac­tors in the King­dom to gen­er­ate be­tween 2,500 and 3,000 MW.

The set­ting-up of the re­ac­tors falls within the frame­work of a me­moran­dum of un­der­stand­ing be­tween the Korea Atomic En­ergy Re­search In­sti­tute (KAERI) and KA-CARE. Al-Odan re­vealed that 40 Saudi en­gi­neers will be sent to Korea for rel­e­vant train­ing.

In a fur­ther boost for Saudi Ara­bia’s en­ergy sec­tor, Ital­ian tech­ni­cal con­sult­ing and en­gi­neer­ing com­pany CESI SpA and GCC Elec­tri­cal Test­ing Lab­o­ra­tory (GCC Lab) signed a term sheet for the devel­op­ment and op­er­a­tion of a state-of-the-art elec­tri­cal test­ing fa­cil­ity in the King­dom.

GCC Lab CEO Saleh Al-Amri called the part­ner­ship a “sig­nif­i­cant step in the line with Saudi Vi­sion 2030.”

He added that it would “con­trib­ute sig­nif­i­cantly to­ward … en­hanc­ing en­ergy ef­fi­ciency.”

Top­ics to be dis­cussed at the three-day fo­rum in­clude Poli­cies and Plans for the Elec­tric­ity Sec­tor; In­vest­ment Op­por­tu­ni­ties and Lo­cal­iza­tion of In­dus­tries and Tech­nolo­gies; Elec­tric­ity Sys­tem Ef­fi­ciency; Devel­op­ment of Elec­tric­ity Market and Elec­tric­ity In­ter­con­nec­tion; Elec­tric­ity Sec­tor Pri­va­ti­za­tion; and Atomic and Re­new­able En­ergy.

KSRelief of­fi­cials visit Ro­hingya refugees in Bangladesh to as­sess their needs. (SPA)

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