High Energy demand: The Call to Alternative Energy Solutions

The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA) being situated in Southwest Asia has a desert climate characterized by extreme heat during the day and an abrupt fall in temperature at night. Having said that, the high energy demand in Saudi Arabia is associated with the ever rising requirement of air-conditioners which in turn demands higher electricity consumption at an annual rate of 7%. Well, this is not limited to household consumption only, but this increase is subjected to increase in population and economic growth. However, due to humidity and high temperatures during the day, people prefer to remain indoors and keep themselves well protected from the sun’s scorching heat. Hence, the utilization of AC systems increase drastically, putting a pressure on electrical production units. Over 50% of KSA’s  total electricity production is consumed by the residential sector. Even 50% is a rough estimate as it’s speculated to go up in summers. According to Saudi Energy Efficiency Centre (SEEC), about 70% of KSA’s buildings are not thermally insulated which not only heats up the internal environment but also the electrical equipment installed within a building, i.e. AC systems, as they tend to lose their efficiency in serving their actual purpose. Consumer behavior also plays a vital role in determining high electricity consumption. Most people in Saudi Arabia tend to leave their AC’s open 24/7 during summers and this requires a high energy demand to combat high electricity demand nationwide.

1. Saudi Arabia’s Renewable energy Resources

Most common renewable energy solutions used for the Arabian Peninsula include solar, thermal, Concentrating Solar Power (CSP) and photovoltaic solar power. All belonging to the same family, the main source of energy comes directly or indirectly from the sun. For Saudi Arabia, solar energy is considered as the most promising and effective source of energy, both in terms of harvesting and reliability. Saudi Arabia plans to install a 25 GW mega CSP by 2040.

2. Solar Resources Observations

King Abdullah City for Atomic and Renewable Energy (K.A.CARE) deployed a Renewable Resource Monitoring and Mapping (RRMM) solar measurement network to facilitate the assessment of solar resources over Saudi Arabia. This observation network was established for investigating large-scale deployments of solar energy technologies and to optimize planning and siting of solar energy power plants.

3. Financing the Transition to Renewable Energy

The challenge for financing the great transformation is to overcome the policy risk and asymmetric information available, so that large investors could find renewable energy investments attractive. The solution to this problem would be to impose a carbon tax which would not only limit the excessive use of carbon-based fuels but also incentivize people to invest in alternative energy solutions.

4. Why the Call to Alternative Energy Solutions is Important?

To beat the high energy demand, it’s important for governments, corporations and individuals to focus on alternative energy solutions rather than on fossil fuels. This would not only promote the use of renewables but also protect the environment from further climatic deformation in Saudi Arabia. Whether it’s a large scale project or a societal development on a smaller scale, it’s highly important to focus on renewable energy solutions for power generation because it’s a win-win situation for both the environment and humanity itself.

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