Saudi Arabia also began (timidly) its energy transition

The world’s largest exporter of oil is decided to prepare the “after” : saudi Arabia plans to derive 10 % of its electricity from renewable sources by 2023. Almost all are now produced by the thermal units that will need to be replaced by solar plants or wind turbines. Details.
Has the image of the other monarchies of the Persian Gulf, which are investing in renewable energy technologies, offshore wind power for the united arab Emirates or solar concentration for Dubai, saudi Arabia will reform its energy sector to prepare for the future. Riyadh has indicated that it would produce 10 % of its electricity from renewable sources by less than 6 years. The country has announced to launch a plan of 30 projects to be implemented, so as to produce 9.5 to 10 GW of power in 2023. The investment will be significant, including between 27,5 and 46 Bn € according to Khaled al-Faleh, the minister of Energy. In the context of a forum, he said : “We want the kingdom to become, in the medium term, a country that develops, manufactures and exports advanced technologies of renewable energy production. It is a real transformation“. Not question to revive the Desertec initiative, which fell into oblivion.


A huge market for international companies


The electrical needs of the country are in constant growth and are expected to exceed 120 GW by 2032, according to government estimates. It therefore intends to rely on an energy mix is diverse, in the image of what is done in other developed economies, Europe in mind. In particular, it is expected that saudi Arabia would invest nearly 100 Billion of euros to build 16 reactors over the next decade. But these plants will be supported by a large number of other projects, including a first solar power plant of 300 MW and a wind farm of 400 MW. The minister explained : “We have not yet designed the nuclear program and we will work on a variety of options,” taking into account “rules“.
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Fifty international companies have already been selected to meet the needs : of 27 companies for solar power plant and 24 for the wind park. These include, in particular, EDF Energies Nouvelles. Other japanese companies, canadian or Korean were selected. They have three months to submit their formal proposals, but the number of responses, over a hundred, had to say to Khaled al-Faleh they demonstrated “confidence in [the] potential of renewable energy sources and [the] investment climate“. Unless new oil reserves being discovered in the basement of the country, the economy of Riyadh will, therefore, move – slowly – toward a décarbonation.

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