Saudi Arabia Kicks Off $50B Renewable Energy Plan to Cut Oil Use

The growing, global energy demand has prompted Saudi Arabia to kick off its newest round of a renewable-energy push.

Saudi Arabia’s Energy Ministry has announced a $50 billion plan in which a final bidder will secure a project to build out a combined 700-megawatt wind and solar power plant—a 300-megawatt solar facility in Sakakah and a 400-megawatt wind plant in Midyan. Bidders can submit documentation through March 30. Winning candidates will be announced on April 10 with the next round of bidding slated for April 17.

Vision 2030 Fuels Opportunity

Projects such as these underscore the Saudi Renewable Energy Project Development Office’s efforts to position the Kingdom as the “the most attractive, competitive and well executed government renewable energy investment programs in the world,” said Khalid Al-Falih, Saudi Arabia’s energy minister. As outlined in Vision 2030– the nation’s economic diversification program–, the Kingdom aims to develop 10 gigawatts of renewable energy by 2023 and 9.5 gigawatts of power from renewables come 2030.

Achieving the objective will require an investment of $30-$50 billion.

The latest renewable-energy push, Al-Falih said, “marks the starting point of a long and sustained program of renewable energy deployment in Saudi Arabia that will not only diversify our power mix but also catalyze economic development.”

Encouraging the move toward wind and solar power could replace up to 80,000 barrels of oil per day currently burned for power. A recent King Abdullah Petroleum Studies and Research Center report found that improving the Kingdom’s energy efficiency by just 4 percent per year could save 1 million barrels of crude oil per day by 2030.

Saudi Arabia is currently OPEC’s largest oil producer and the world’s biggest crude exporter. Broadening the economy’s scope to encompass renewable energy production falls as part of the Kingdom’s grander plan to diversify its economy and ween its reliance off the oil and gas market.

Read more at Bloomberg.