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Saudi Arabia solar energy IRENA map
Saudi Arabia solar energy IRENA map


REsource: Get The Inside Scoop On Saudi Arabia Solar Power

The Saudi Arabia solar profile is set for boom times, even as the country’s powerful petro-muscles feel the strain of the global oil price crash.

REsource is a new search tool for renewable energy, and that’s not all. By pulling together accurate, reliable data on global renewable energy trends — notably, Saudi Arabia solar potential — REsource also provides key insights into the forces at work behind the oil price crash, as well as the increasing pressure on the natural gas and coal markets.

REsource is a project of IRENA*, the International Renewable Energy Agency. We introduced REsource to our readers last month as part of an IRENA sponsorship, so now let’s dig a little deeper into the implications of this new tool for the future of fossil fuels.

REsource And Saudi Arabia Solar Potential

We’ll defer to the experts on some of the geopolitics behind the oil price crash, but from a renewable energy perspective, it comes down to one thing: Saudi Arabia sees the writing on the wall, and it spells R-E-N-E-W-A-B-L-E-S.

Actually, Saudi Arabia saw it coming 15 years ago. As one of our guest contributors recently pointed out, this somewhat infamous observation was made by Sheikh Ahmed Zaki Yamani, former oil minister of Saudi Arabia, during the course of an interview back in 2000:

Thirty years from now there will be a huge amount of oil – and no buyers. Oil will be left in the ground. The Stone Age came to an end, not because we had a lack of stones, and the oil age will come to an end not because we have a lack of oil.

We’re only 15 years away from that prediction, and things seem to be heading in that direction.

This is where REsource comes in. If you noodle around the Intertubes using Google (or another search engine of your choice), you may or may not stumble across reliable information that would back up (or tear down) the Sheikh’s forecast.

REsource takes all the guesswork out. Use the internal REsource search engine, and you’re only getting vetted data and information on current trends from well-established sources.

So, for example, last month we googled around and found an IRENA report indicating that renewable energy is still competitive globally with oil, despite the recent price crash. Now we know that we can go straight to REsource for current, reliable information.

You can also get the insider’s scoop on far-ranging development plans. To cite just one example, we’re thinking that IRENA’s renewable energy roadmap for the Pacific islands will knock that whole sector off the diesel market sooner rather than later.

For you map lovers out there, go into REsource and search under “map,” and you’ll find more maps than you can shake a stick of, including the interactive solar resources map pictured above.

Not for nothing, but REsource is not exactly knocking CleanTechnica out of business — you can still rely on us for narrative-driven news and commentary that pulls all the pieces together. REsource actually helps us to do our jobs better, bringing context you might have missed to stories we’re covering.

In support of the Sheikh’s forecast, within the past few months, we noted the Kingdom’s new push to cut its domestic ties to diesel generators, and its far-reaching plans for a network of solar-powered desalination plants.

Check out our extensive Masdar coverage for more on cleantech initiatives in the region, too.

IRENA & The Oil Price Crash

If you take a look back at the creation IRENA itself, you can also get the big-picture view of today’s oil price crash and the role of Saudi Arabia as a pivot.

The idea of an international agency dedicated to advancing renewable energy worldwide was first floated at the UN all the way back in 1981, shortly after OPEC (the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries) flexed its muscles and sparked the oil supply crises of the 1970s.

Nothing much happened until 2004, when IRENA was established by resolution, and then it took another four years to actually launch the agency, in 2008. That turned out to be a case of perfect timing, as renewable energy development has skyrocketed since 2008.

IRENA’s mission is to provide:

…practical advice and support to both developed and developing countries wishing to accelerate the uptake of renewable energy and meet the anticipated steep increase in global energy needs by combining the use of renewable energy with energy efficiency.

The lynchpin of that effort is to help enable planners and stakeholders to get their hands on reliable data and information on best practices, so one of the cool things about REsource is that you, me, and anybody else with Internet access can also see the same stuff that the experts rely on to do their jobs.

Saudi Arabia Solar Potential And National Identity

That brings us back around to Saudi Arabia solar potential. For our US readers, let’s note up front that petroleum is just a recent blip on the screen over centuries of history in the Saudi Kingdom and its region. In contrast, the US came to being at the dawn of the fossil fuel age, with coal playing a major role in addition to oil and natural gas.

Perhaps that’s why Sheikh Ahmed Zaki Yamani found it relatively easy to let go of a fossil fuel future to focus on solar energy and other rich domestic resources, while here in the US some of us are still wrestling with an identity crisis, despite all we know about fossil fuel hazards.

Of course, major US fossil fuel stakeholders like these guys are having an especially hard time letting go, so stay tuned as we head into the 2016 US presidential election cycle.

Follow me on Twitter and Google+.

*This article was kindly sponsored by IRENA.

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