DUBAI: Saudi Arabia has committed to play a key role in the development of renewable fuel sources and clean energy technology.
The Kingdom will join a core group of 23 nations and international bodies that signed up for an initiative called Mission Innovation 2.0 during an event in the Chilean capital Santiago. The group is expected to inject $250 billion of investment into renewable energy innovation over the next decade.
Saudi Energy Minister Prince Abdul Aziz bin Salman told the virtual event: “Saudi Arabia is committed to promote technologies and solutions that address greenhouse gas emissions under the Circular Carbon Economy platform through accelerating research, development, deployment and dissemination of such technology.”
The pledge is just the latest Saudi move into the key area of renewables and technology in the campaign to achieve climate change targets under the Paris Agreement.
Earlier this year, the Kingdom announced its “Saudi Green” plan, under which 50 percent of domestic energy would be produced from renewable energy sources by 2030 and 10 billion trees would be planted in the country to help mitigate carbon emissions in the atmosphere.
Saudi Arabia has also signed an agreement with Germany to collaborate on the production and transportation of “green hydrogen,” which some experts regard as the “fuel of the future” to eventually replace fossil fuels.
Last week, Prince Abdul Aziz told a meeting of the OPEC+ oil alliance that the Kingdom had a head start in renewable fuels and would push forward with its climate change plans, while continuing to pursue cleaner and more efficient methods of hydrocarbon use.
“Saudi Arabia is no longer just an oil-producing country, but an energy-producing country, and a very competitive one. We can produce low-cost oil and gas, and renewables like solar. We are also the lowest cost producer of hydrogen. We are going to be the winner in all these activities,” he said.
The Kingdom will take part in two of the Mission Innovation sectors — Clean Hydrogen and Green-powered Future.
The first aims to increase the cost-competitiveness of clean hydrogen by reducing end-to-end costs to $2 per kilogram by 2030. The second aims to demonstrate that by 2030 power systems in different geographies and climates are able to effectively integrate up to 100 percent variable renewable energies in their generation mix and maintain a cost-efficient, secure and resilient system.
US Special Presidential Envoy for Climate John Kerry said: “The launch of Mission Innovation 2.0 is an important step forward to reach our collective climate goals. Reaching net-zero emissions by 2050 will require urgent action by 2030, both to deploy the clean energy technologies we already have as well as to develop, demonstrate, and scale the innovations we’ll need to fully decarbonize the global economy.”