Saudi Arabia Moves Toward Becoming the Global Leader in Clean Energy

Turki Al-Shehri, Head of the National Renewable Energy Program. PHOTO CREDIT: NREP

Saudi Arabia’s National Renewable Energy Program (NERP) is leading the charge in moving the nation away from oil, and toward wind and solar energy production. The initiative reflects an ongoing, and proactive national effort to both diversify the country’s economy, all while positioning Saudi Arabia as the global leader in clean energy.

“The Kingdom came at a very good time because renewables is competitive today… There is obviously room for further development and further knowhow, (but) this is the time to capture all this… to become a global leader in renewables,” said Turki Al-Shehri, the head force behind NERP’s activities.

Launched in 2016 by Saudi Energy Minister Khalid Al-Falih, NERP is moving ahead on realizing Vision 2030’s goals: namely, achieving 3.45 gigawatts (GW) of renewables by 2020, and 9.5 GW by 2023. Switching to clean energy sources could replace up to 80,000 barrels of oil per day the Kingdom currently burns for power.

Investments in the Region, Around the World

Achieving these goals will take buy-in from those in-country, and investments from bidders around the world.

NERP and the Energy Ministry work alongside domestic-based organizations already involved in renewable projects, including King Abdullah City for Atomic and Renewable Energy, King Abdullah City for Science and Technology, the Saudi Electricity Co. and the Electricity and Cogeneration Regulatory Authority. Already, Saudi Aramco runs a 10 megawatt facility, the country’s largest solar plant.

International investment will, too, be a core component in positioning Saudi Arabia as a prime investment hub for renewable energy projects.

Saudi’s Renewable Energy Project Development Office (REPDO) launched last month a $50 billion plan for a 700-megawatt wind and solar plant. To date, the project has secured 400 bidders across 35 different countries. Preliminary winners will be named on April 10, with selections from the second phase of bidding announced in September 2017.

“It is our goal to make the National Renewable Energy Program among the most attractive, competitive and well-executed government renewable energy investment programs in the world, and we have all the necessary infrastructure in place to ensure that is the case,” Al-Falih said.

Read more at Arab News.