Accelerating Clean & Sustainable Energy for Saudi Arabia

Solar Panel Array

Clean and renewable energy is the future of the power sector as Tom Steyer once said, “Renewable energy is a clear winner when it comes to boosting the economy and creating jobs.” This indicates that the renewable energy sector is an emerging field full of exciting opportunities for future generations. Saudi Arabia has the motive of establishing a sustainable renewable energy sector for the country by training and development of the human resources to enjoy a balance between fossil fuel and alternative energy. Hence, the push towards boosting renewable energy production to 60 gigawatts by 2030 would only be possible if renewable energy technologies are manufactured locally and the country is able to export its products as well.

Challenges for future energy sustainability

As a dynamically versatile nation, Saudi Arabia does face a few challenges to attain sustainability in the renewable energy sector. This includes high energy demand at a low-priced electricity consumption and the mismatch between pricing of solar energy from storage devices compared with the cost incurred from direct electricity generation via photovoltaic cells during the day. According to government estimates, the demand for electricity in the kingdom is expected to exceed 120 GW by 2032. Also, if the alternative energy sources are not implemented within the right time frame, the overall demand for fossil fuels, specifically oil is expected to go up to 8.3 million barrels of oil per day by 2028.

The race towards achieving sustainable energy

King Abdullah City for Atomic and Renewable Energy (K.A.CARE) aims to balance the economic viability and technical feasibility of renewable energy in a sustainable manner. The introduction of alternative sources would reduce the utilization of non-renewables and water desalination. K.A.CARE’s recommendation is to gradually introduce renewable and atomic energy, such that by 2032 50% of the kingdom’s electricity is generated from non-fossil fuels. K.A.CARE’s division to meet the excessive demand of electricity by 2032 is done in such a way that 60GW would be generated from hydrocarbons, 17.6GW from nuclear, 41GW from solar, 9GW from wind, 3GW waste-to-energy and 1GW from geothermal energy. This is how sustainability could be maximized around the year regardless of the weather conditions.

Saudi Arabia’s entry in ISA to boost Solar-Energy club

Earlier this year, Saudi Arabia’s crown prince, Muhammad Bin Salman, toured India and signed an agreement with an inter-governmental organization to join The International Solar Alliance (ISA). On behalf of the UN climate conference, ISA was launched jointly by the prime ministers of India and France. Solely, this is the reason Saudi Arabia’s crown prince visited India to explore modern avenues for solar energy exploitation and reduction on the dependency for fossil fuels. On account of Saudi Arabia’s experience in devising sustainable
energy policy, infrastructure and investment financing, it would add an incredible value for the other members of ISA, indicating that Saudi Arabia would play a prominent role in the future of solar energy. Saudi Arabia is highly ambitious in promoting the renewable energy culture in its kingdom that the potential is more than just serving the internal community. Rather, it has plans of exporting clean energy to its neighboring countries.

Saudi Arabia could turn out to be a role model for other countries by boosting its investments in solar energy and support the developing countries on adopting solar technologies from them. ISA would also in this regard form a coalition with the Islamic Development Bank (IsDB), headquartered in Jeddah, to support Saudi Arabia’s noble cause. An estimated amount of $100 billion would be required for deployment of massive solar energy projects by 2030. Location of Saudi Arabia is such that there is intense heat during the day which is sufficient enough to generate a significant amount of electrical or thermal energy. The most common solar technologies used in Saudi Arabia are photovoltaic systems and solar thermal power. However, in the long run, more sophisticated technologies that could be used commercially and for the household purpose would be required to meet the projected goals under Vision 2030.

Significance of Sustainable Energy for Saudi Arabia

Saudi Arabia’s transition towards renewable energy would not only reduce the negative environmental impact due to large consumption of fossil fuels but also the carbon footprint it has imprinted on the kingdom, leading to conservation of hydrocarbon resources.

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