JEDDAH/RIYADH: ARAB NEWS
Published — Thursday 13 December 2012
Last update 13 December 2012 1:37 am
The Kingdom has an immediate need for renewable energy sources to keep up with future electricity demands, said experts in electricity and energy at the Saudi Arabia Smart Grid 2012 Conference.
Participants heard the country must effectively manage peak electricity consumption, which totaled 56,000 megawatts in 2012 and is estimated to increase by 8 percent in the coming years.
Bandar Al-Alaaf, president of the organizing committee of Smart Grid 2012, said the four-day conference in Jeddah concluded with 10 recommendations to meet the Kingdom’s growing energy needs.
They include the maximum use of solar power to manage electricity loads; the development of power storage systems; and defining standards and specifications for the integration of solar power plants with existing electricity transport systems.
Other recommendations were the immediate commencement of the Saudi Atlas project; specifying suitable locations for renewable energy projects; focusing on increasing solar power system efficiency and utilizing advanced methods to conserve energy; and the importance of estimating the impact and effect of carbon emissions.
Conference sessions highlighted the need for the application of smart grids and the importance of explicit regulations to govern the grids in the planning and execution stages.
Abdullah Al-Shahri, governor of Electricity Regulatory Authority and Cogeneration, said new electricity projects would match population growth, and that the authority currently handles 400,000 new subscribers annually.
“The Kingdom aspires to be a leader in smart grid applications in the Middle East,” said Al-Alaaf.
The conference recognized Sami Ghanam from Aramco for his paper on Washing Photoelectric Panels; Fahad Abu Muati from King Abdullah City for Atomic and Renewable Energy for efficient operation of electric systems linked to renewable power resources and Nottingham University for factors effecting electric distortions in micro systems.
In another development, King Abdullah City for Atomic and Renewable Energy (KACARE) and the Fraunhofer Institute for Energy Systems (FIES) in Germany have signed an agreement to conduct joint research and development with the intent to expand renewable energy programs at KACARE.
KACARE plans to introduce atomic and renewable energy sources to meet the country's growing energy and desalination demands within a national sustainable program. The program will also train a national work force to manage and operate an integrated energy system.
The agreement between the two partners will support future research and development programs such as thermal storage materials for solar energy plants; the development of solar energy-based air-conditioning systems; and solar energy assessments from technical, economical and environmental perspectives.
The joint venture will allow KACARE to benefit from the experiences of the German institute. Knowledge sharing and training will focus on sustaining and conducting national research programs, developing potential within the country’s work force and advancing the scientific movement in renewable energy sources in the Kingdom.
In May the deputy president of KACARE, Walid Abu Al-Faraj, said KACARE plans to make a big shift in the Kingdom by converting it into a country with a sustainable energy system with the intent to strengthen the national economy. He said their goal was to implement a solar energy strategy during 2012 and save the Kingdom up to 520,000 barrels of oil a day by 2032.
Mahir Al-Owdan, adviser of Research and Development at KACARE, said the proposal to shift the Kingdom into a sustainable energy country necessitates the creation of an infrastructure supportive of research and development. These R&D programs will maximize local capability and technical know-how in this field.