Solar Power Rising in the Gulf

2013 saw great things happen on the Arabian Peninsula in relation to energy production. The region has invested heavily in installing solar power plants and reducing their own reliance on oil (so they can export more). In fact, the UAE is looking to start export in renewable energy!

For the Gulf’s solar industry, 2013 was a year of firsts: In addition to the opening of Abu Dhabi’s Shams 1 plant, Dubai’s first solar power plant became operational, and Kuwait and Oman decided to build their first as well. In Saudi Arabia, one energy analyst found the cost of generating electricity from solar there had become as cheap as generating electricity from oil-fired power plants.

Saudi’s solar goals appear to be the most gung-ho in the region: The kingdom has announced that it plans to throw down $109bn on solar energy and get one-third of its power from the sun by 2032. This target is “too ambitious”, said Hussam Khonkar of Saudi Arabia’s King Abdulaziz City for Science and Technology, but added the technology to do so is available.

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Saudi Arabia Starts $109 Billion Push for Renewable Energy

The end of cheap oil is inevitable and it’s clear that at least one oil-producing nation gets that. Unlike Canada, which seemingly wants to destroy half a province, Saudi Arabia (with the second-largest oil reserves) is looking to invest a lot of money into fossil-fuel-free energy. Saudi Arabia wants it’s domestic energy consumption to eventually be 100% renewable so this $109 billion investment is proof they are on their way there. Hopefully other countries that export oil like Canada and Venezuela will take inspiration and learn about the future of energy from Saudi Arabia.

Saudi Arabia, world’s largest oil exporter, aims to meet one-third of its energy demands by using renewable energy by 2032, setting aside a budget of $109 billion for achieving the goal.

The issue will also top the agenda at the upcoming third annual Solar Arabia Summit to be held in Riyadh from September 29-30.

Here, international and regional renewable energy experts, will discuss the key challenges faced by the Kingdom in the area and steps towards overcoming them.

Read more at Business Standard.

Saudi Arabia Plans for 100% Renewable Energy

67 year old Prince Turki Al Faisal Al Saud wants Saudi Arabia to be fully powered by renewable energy in his lifetime. Saudi Arabia is one of the largest oil producers in the world and is probably the most symbolic oil-rich nation. The fact that the country’s leaders want to transition away from oil despite the fact that they are oil rich highlights the need to stop relying on finite fossil fuels.

If Saudi Arabia can transition to renewable energy than the rest of the world can surely do it too.

However, he insisted Saudi was moving ahead with investment in renewable energy, nuclear power and other alternatives to fossil fuels and that it could use its vast oil reserves for other goods, such as plastics and polymers.

“Oil is more precious for us underground than as a fuel source,” he said. “If we can get to the point where we can replace fossil fuels and use oil to produce other products that are useful, that would be very good for the world. I wish that may be in my lifetime, but I don’t think it will be.”

Joss Garman, political director of Greenpeace, said: “It speaks volumes that a Saudi prince can see the benefits of switching to clean energy sources when [UK chancellor] George Osborne seemingly cannot, but Saudi Arabia will only truly be a green economy when it leaves its fossil fuels in the ground.”

More at The Guardian.

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