Saudi Arabia aims to be world’s largest renewable energy market

Updated 23 July 2013
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Saudi Arabia aims to be world’s largest renewable energy market

Saudi Arabia aims to become the world’s foremost market for renewable energy with an aggressive investment budget of $109 billion. By 2032, the country strives to generate as much as a third of the Kingdom’s energy demands using renewable energy (54 GW).
Following the publicity surrounding the country’s major investment drive, King Abdullah City for Atomic and Renewable Energy (KACARE) released a series of documents detailing the revised National Energy Plan. In addition to the 41 GW of solar power, 25 GW of CSP and 16 GW of PV, the Kingdom is aiming to generate 18 GW of nuclear energy, 3 GW of waste to energy, 1 GW of geothermal and an additional 9 GW of wind power, specifically for water desalination plants.
Impressive and noble though the country’s renewable energy goals maybe, the question remains how will the world’s largest exporter of oil, so dependent on conventional energy sources for their power demand, achieve such a transformation.
Establishing a time-line with long-term policies is at the top of the list.
According to Keisuke Sadamori, director of the energy markets and security directorate, International Energy Agency (IEA), "One of the key messages from the Medium Term Renewable Energy Market Report 2013 by the IEA is that policy uncertainty is the largest risk for renewable investment. Every country, including Saudi Arabia, should introduce long-term policies to provide a predictable and reliable framework to support renewable deployment."
Sadamori, alongside various other international and regional renewable energy experts, will be discussing the key challenges faced by Saudi Arabia and the steps toward overcoming them at the upcoming 3rd Annual Solar Arabia Summit. Taking place on Sept. 29-30 in Riyadh, the summit is hosting 35 experts who will each share their experience in the industry and discuss the latest market trends and policy development in the Kingdom.
Rasheed M. Alzahrani, CEO, Riyadh Valley Company, is also speaking at the summit to discuss joint ventures, partnerships and investments in renewable energy in the Kingdom.
He also acknowledges that "high level plans are already in place, but the major challenge in the Kingdom lies in the absence of a detailed time-line for a clear and gradual shift to renewable energy in the country and the slow adoption and advancement in renewable energy initiatives."
When asked about his company’s participation in the summit, Alzahrani said: "We intend to invest in this sector both in early and late stage opportunities that will add value to the local needs. We will use this platform to introduce RVC and its initiatives and to help foster the development of an energy ecosystem in KSA."
Alongside the summit’s conference agenda, 250 Saudi energy stakeholders are attending to have one-to-one business meetings with up to 40 international solution and service providers.
Confirmed participants include Schneider Electric, Total, Sterling and Wilson, SMA Technology and Trishe Renewables.


Indonesia’s Go-Jek close to profits in all segments

Updated 18 August 2018
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Indonesia’s Go-Jek close to profits in all segments

  • Go-Jek is Indonesia's first billio-dollar startup
  • Ride haling app evolves into online payment platform

JAKARTA: Go-Jek, Indonesia’s first billion-dollar startup, is “extremely close” to achieving profitability in all its segments, except transportation, its founder and CEO Nadiem Makarim told Reuters.

Launched in 2011 in Jakarta, Go-Jek — a play on the local word for motorbike taxis — has evolved from a ride-hailing service to a one-stop app allowing clients in Southeast Asia’s largest economy to make online payments and order everything from food, groceries to massages.

“We’re seeing enormous online to offline traction for all of our businesses and are close to being profitable, outside of transportation,” said the 34-year old CEO.
The startup is expected to be fully profitable “probably” within the next few years, Makarim added.

Already a market leader in Indonesia, where it processes more than 100 million transactions for its 20-25 million monthly users, Go-Jek is now looking to expand in Southeast Asia.

Ride hailing services in Southeast Asia are expected to surge to $20.1 billion in gross merchandise value by 2025 from $5.1 billion in 2017, according to a Google-Temasek report.

Go-Jek said in May it would invest $500 million to enter Vietnam, Singapore, Thailand and the Philippines, after Uber struck a deal to sell its Southeast Asian operations to Grab — the bigger player in the region.

Go-Jek is seeing strong funding interest from its backers as it targets an aggressive expansion, Makarim said.

“Since its Aug. 1 launch, the app has already grabbed 15 percent of market share in Ho Chi Minh,” Makarim said. The firm this week opened recruitment for motorcycle drivers in Thailand.

The startup expects anti-monopoly concerns swirling around the Grab-Uber deal, which Singapore said had substantially hurt competition, to help clear a path for its expansion.

“We’re bringing back choice. The Singapore government is particularly eager to bring back competition,” Makarim said, adding that the order of overseas rollouts had not been set.

Go-Jek’s offshore push comes at a time when Singapore-based Grab is stepping up funding to expand in Indonesia and transform itself into a consumer technology company, starting with a partnership with online grocer HappyFresh.

“Mimicking Go-Jek’s strategy is the highest form of flattery,” laughed Makarim.

Grab told Reuters in a statement, “The super app strategy has been around for a while now and no Southeast Asian player can claim to have pioneered it.” The company also said Grab has not lost market share in Ho Chi Minh since August, but declined to provide market share data.

Makarim believes Go-Jek’s understanding of food merchants will give it an edge over Grab, which counts investors such as Chinese ride-hailing firm Didi Chuxing and Japan’s SoftBank Group Corp. among its backers.

Makarim, who sees food delivery as Go-Jek’s core business, said he was not concerned about funding, without giving details.

Go-Jek was reported in June as being in talks to raise $1.5 billion in a new funding round and was valued at about $5 billion in a prior fundraising, sources have told Reuters. The firm had said in March it was considering a domestic IPO.

Makarim noted Go-Jek’s backers were sharing both capital and expertise. The company is collaborating with Alphabet Inc’s Google on platform mobility, Tencent on payments strategy, JD.com on logistics operations, and Meituan Dianping on merchant transactions and deliveries.

Go-Jek has set up a venture capital arm, Go-Ventures, to invest in startups in Southeast Asia “with strategic importance to our business,” the CEO said.