Published on April 18th, 2017 | by Joshua S Hill0
Saudi Arabia Maintains Renewable Energy Push, Seeks 10% By 2023
April 18th, 2017 by Joshua S Hill
Saudi Arabia’s Energy Minister has announced that his country is aiming to produce 10% of its power from renewable energy sources by 2023, and seeks to complete 30 solar and wind energy projects with a total of 9.5 gigawatts of renewable energy.
Speaking on Monday in the country’s capital, Riyadh, Saudi Energy Minister Khalid al-Falih revealed the ambitious renewable energy program — a big step for a country that is renowned the world over for its fossil fuel resources, and the massive wealth it has garnered from those same resources. Minister al-Falih explained that his country is targeting the development of 9.5 gigawatts (GW) of renewable energy by 2023, which would entail investment in the range of $30 billion to $50 billion.
Saudi Arabia, the world’s largest oil exporter, is seeking to source 10% of the country’s power from renewable energy sources, and announced “30 projects to be implemented” over the next decade.
It’s big news for a country that generates virtually all its domestic power needs from crude or refined oil, and natural gas. “The energy mix to produce electricity will change, today the kingdom uses large quantities of oil liquids, including crude, fuel oil and diesel,” al-Falih said. “So the percentage of renewable energy by 2023 (will be) 10 percent of total installed capacity in the kingdom.”
This new plan is an effort to reduce the country’s dependency on oil — as both a power source and as a source of revenue. Saudi Arabia, with vast reserves of cash-money, is not only seeking to develop renewable energy to sustain its growing population, but also to export.
“We are seeking for the kingdom, in the medium term, to become a nation that develops, manufactures and exports the advanced technologies of renewable energy production,” al-Falih said.
The move should come as no surprise, especially given moves we have seen recently from within Saudi Arabia. Various reports floated earlier this year suggested that Saudi Aramco, the world’s largest oil company, was mulling a potential $5 billion investment in renewable energy projects. Not long after, Saudi Arabia floated a tender for 700 MW of solar and wind energy projects. The country has also planned a second tender round to build 400 MW of wind power and 620 MW of solar.