Sus­tain­able-en­ergy projects will cre­ate 100,000 jobs, ex­perts pre­dict

Arab News - - SAUDI ARABIA -

In­ter­na­tional En­ergy Agency.

The Saudi so­lar ini­tia­tive will help to di­ver­sify the na­tional econ­omy and stim­u­late in­vest­ment in non-oil in­dus­tries. The project will also re­duce so­lar power pro­duc­tion costs and cre­ate em­ploy­ment op­por­tu­ni­ties for Saudi work­ers, with up to 100,000 jobs in so­lar power schemes alone.

Mean­while, King Saud Univer­sity in Riyadh has joined a re­search project with Ja­pan and Peru to mon­i­tor changes in the sun and their ef­fects on Earth.

The King­dom’s his­tory of so­lar re­search goes back 38 years, when King Sal­man opened the re­search plant at King Ab­dul Aziz City — the first so­lar power site in the King­dom. The plant pro­vided so­lar elec­tric­ity to Uyayna, Jubaila and ru­ral cen­ters near Riyadh.

The so­lar vil­lage, part of a SaudiUS part­ner­ship, pro­duces 350 kilo­watts of elec­tric­ity through con­cen­trated pho­to­voltaic com­plexes.

Crown Prince Mo­hammed bin Sal­man has out­lined Saudi Ara­bia’s trans­for­ma­tion into a “King­dom of Sus­tain­able En­ergy” era within five months. In Oc­to­ber 2017, Riyadh hosted the be­gin­ning of the devel­op­ment of the strat­egy (So­lar Plan 2030) with the par­tic­i­pa­tion of the Pub­lic In­vest­ment Fund and Softbank Vi­sion Fund.

On March 28, dur­ing his ground­break­ing visit to the US, the crown prince signed a me­moran­dum of un­der­stand­ing with Softbank Vi­sion Fund to cre­ate a plant for the project, which would be com­pleted and ready to start pro­duc­tion of so­lar en­ergy by early 2019.

Prince Turki bin Saud bin Mo­hammed, pres­i­dent of King Ab­dul Aziz City for Sci­ence and Tech­nol­ogy, said: “Saudi Ara­bia’s cur­rent en­ergy needs are 75 gi­gawatts. The 2030 so­lar plan would en­able the King­dom to ex­port sur­plus elec­tric­ity and thus pro­vide al­ter­na­tive en­ergy to the King­dom’s oil.”

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