Al-Falih announces package of renewable energy projects

Minister of Energy, Industry and Mineral Resources Khalid Al-Falih speaks at the Saudi Arabia Renewable Energy Investment Forum (SAREIF) in Riyadh on Monday. (SPA)
Updated 18 April 2017

Al-Falih announces package of renewable energy projects

RIYADH: Minister of Energy, Industry and Mineral Resources Khalid Al-Falih launched a tender process for the Kingdom’s 300 megawatts Sakaka solar project. He said more wind and solar projects are in the pipeline. 

Launching the major project at the Saudi Arabia Renewable Energy Investment Forum (SAREIF) at the Four Seasons Hotel, Al-Falih told more than 800 local and foreign delegates that the National Center for Renewable Energy Data has also been established. 

The Sakaka project in Al-Jouf, which is expected to come online by 2019, involves the development, design, financing, construction, testing, completion and operation of a greenfield solar PV plant. 

The project is expected to have a total capacity output not exceeding at any time 300 MW capacity of electricity generation. The project forms part of the Round 1 of the National Renewable Energy Program.

Some 51 companies have expressed interests for the Sakaka project.

He also announced that final touches are being given to another wind project for 400 megawatts in Domat Al-Jandar. Under the new initiatives to obtain renewable energy from wind and solar projects, the minister said it would target 1,200 megawatts through 30 projects in the next seven years. The initiative plans to derive 10 gigawatts of power from renewable energy to the national grid. 

“So the percentage of renewable energy by 2023 will be 10 percent of the total installed capacity in the Kingdom.”

Al-Falih said the National Center for Renewable Energy Data of King Abdullah City for Atomic and Renewable Energy would serve as the central authority to provide high-quality data on the renewable energy sector in the Kingdom to investors or investors.

The inaugural ceremony followed a panel discussion moderated by Eithne Treanor, OPEC’s official on air-conference and webcast moderator.

Abdulaiz Al-Judaimi, senior vice president of Aramco, highlighted the importance of the company’s role in diversifying the Kingdom’s energy sources.

 “Saudi Aramco’s participation in the forum stems from its crucial role in diversifying the Kingdom’s energy mix through various projects and initiatives that aim at promoting the use and adoption of renewable energy to reduce emissions and to achieve a better environmental performance, while meeting the Kingdom’s future energy demand,” Al-Judaimi said

Saudi Aramco has already delivered on its renewable energy initiatives and demonstrated the integration of solar PV (photovoltaic), and solar CPV (concentrating photovoltaic) at its current facilities with several pilot projects, including one of the world’s largest solar carport systems.

In addition to the vast solar energy resources in the Kingdom, wind energy is among the best worldwide with wind capacity twice the global minimum in numerous areas in Northern and Northwest regions of the Kingdom. The recent inauguration of the first wind turbine in Turaif demonstrates Saudi Aramco’s strategy of integrating renewable energy into its operations. The wind turbine will create enough power to supply 250 homes, which has the potential to displace 19,000 barrels of oil equivalent, and generate 2.75MW of energy, thereby reducing demand for electricity from the national grid.

The introduction of renewable energy will reduce the Kingdom’s greenhouse gas emissions and will contribute to global climate efforts, as outlined in the Paris Climate Agreement.

Committing the Kingdom to renewable energy also achieves part of the National Transformation Plan (NTP) and Vision 2030. Through NTP, the Kingdom is targeting 3.45GW of renewable energy by 2020 and 9.5GW by 2023. The 9.5GW will result in avoiding 16-18MM ton CO2/year by 2023.

Visit to Pakistan, India and China proves strategic for Saudi Arabia

Updated 24 February 2019

Visit to Pakistan, India and China proves strategic for Saudi Arabia

  • Benefits of three-country tour include billions in economic deals as well as security initiatives

JEDDAH: The three-country tour of Asia by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman that came to a close this weekend was an economic and strategic success, experts say.

“Saudi Arabia might be seen by some as moving to the East,” Salman Al-Ansari, founder of the Saudi American Public Relation Affairs Committee (SAPRAC), told Arab News. “The correct way to put it is that it’s spreading its wings East and West.

“Economic diversification requires strategic diversification. This should not be seen in any way as Saudi Arabia giving the cold shoulder to its most trusted allies, specifically the US,” he said. “And as Joseph Parry said: ‘Make new friends but keep the old; those are silver, these are gold.’”

The tour, which saw Saudi Arabia’s crown prince warmly welcomed by the leaders of Pakistan, India and China, is in line with the crown prince’s Vision 2030, which plans to transform Saudi Arabia’s economy that relies on crude oil exports into a vibrant, diversified economy. The tour resulted in billions of dollars in economic deals as well as initiatives to increase security and combat terrorism.

“Saudi Arabia is the one and only country that can take the leadership position on the global efforts of combating terrorism, specifically in the ideological front,” Al-Ansari said.

Hamdan Al-Shehri, a political analyst and international relations scholar, said that China and Saudi Arabia have the same goals of security and stability. “China shares the Kingdom’s concerns and it knows that our continent has suffered from terrorism issues and international interventions and also troubles in the region.”

The two countries also improved on their mutually beneficial economic ties. As Al-Shehri pointed out: “China needs a huge energy source, and Saudi Arabia is one of these sources that can provide China with energy.”

One significant deal is the $10 billion refining and petrochemical complex, a joint venture between Saudi Aramco and Norinco, to be developed in the Chinese city of Panjin.

Also of great geopolitical significance is the $10-billion oil-refinery in Pakistan’s Gwadar Port, as it is one of the most important parts of China’s One Belt, One Road Initiative, Al-Shehri said. “Global players are willing to invest in this project. The Kingdom’s investment in this field will serve Pakistan and will benefit the Kingdom as well as the (China-Pakistan Economic Corridor).”

And despite its historical relationship with Pakistan, Al-Shehri said that the Kingdom also found common ground with India. For instance, the two countries agreed to set up a working group on counter-terrorism. 

“India shares the Kingdom’s concern about instability in the seas, such as the Indian Ocean and the Red Sea. These are all places of global trade,” Al-Shehri said, adding that he hopes the Kingdom will play a role in resolving border points of contention between Pakistan and India as it did between Eritrea and Ethiopia.

It wasn’t all just business. The crown prince’s tour included some other announcements, including that 2,100 Pakistani and 850 Indian prisoners will be released from the Kingdom’s jails, that the Chinese language will be introduced in the Saudi school curriculum and that Saudi Arabia will soon host several concerts featuring major Bollywood performers.

The crown prince also called for the creation of a health center in Pakistan’s Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province dedicated to the memory of a Pakistani hero who saved 14 lives in Jeddah’s 2009 floods.