Saudi Arabia is keen to localize the renewable energy sector and achieve its goal of increasing the contribution of renewables to electricity production in the Kingdom.
These targets are part of the wider “Green Saudi Arabia” and “Green Middle East” initiatives — two powerful projects that positively impact global environmental interests and strengthen the Kingdom’s role in the international arena, especially through its leading role in the G20.
One of Saudi Arabia’s key goals and strategies as part of Vision 2030 is for the Kingdom to develop an effective and cost-efficient energy mix. Looking at the Kingdom’s policy toward renewable energy, it is obvious that it does not compete with fossil fuels such as oil and gas, but rather complements them.
Saudi Arabia’s National Renewable Energy Program seeks to reduce the consumption of liquid fuel burned to generate electricity and reach an optimal energy mix. It aims to make the share of gas and renewable energy sources in this mix about 50 percent each by 2030.
The Kingdom has worked tirelessly to take advantage of its solar energy resources, instead of using its vital oil reserves in electric power plants.
Intuitively, with the passage of time, Saudi Arabia found itself depleting the oil that it extracts to sell to global markets. It realized that if it continued down this path, it would not have been able to continue to provide energy at a low cost.
The renewable energy program plays an essential and pioneering role in the Kingdom’s goal to localize the production and manufacturing of components, in order to support the local solar and wind energy industries.
The 300 MW Sakaka solar farm in Al-Jouf province is the first independent power producer solar and utility-scale renewable energy project, which aims to diversify Saudi Arabia’s local energy sources and stimulate economic development.
Projects like this help Saudi Arabia’s goals to reduce the cost of electricity generation and boost private sector participation in the Kingdom’s economy.
• Faisal Faeq is an energy and oil marketing adviser. He was formerly with OPEC and Saudi Aramco. Twitter: @faisalfaeq