Saudi energy minister reveals Kingdom’s ambitious electricity plans

Minister of Energy, Industry and Mineral Resources Khalid Al-Falih
Updated 12 October 2017
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Saudi energy minister reveals Kingdom’s ambitious electricity plans

RIYADH: Minister of Energy, Industry and Mineral Resources Khalid Al-Falih says that Saudi Arabia plans to supply electricity to Ethiopia through its privatization programs.
During his inauguration of the Saudi Electricity Forum at the Faisaliah Hotel in Riyadh on Tuesday, Al-Falih explained that the Kingdom plans to supply electricity to Ethiopia through its grid in Egypt some time in the next three years. He added that, through its planned grid in Turkey, the Kingdom would also have the opportunity to supply power to European countries in the future.
Power grids in Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries have been interconnected since 2011, Al-Falih pointed out. The Gulf Cooperation Council Countries Interconnection Grid (GCCIG) has a total capacity of 1,200 megawatts (MW) and links Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Kuwait, Bahrain, Qatar and Oman.
Saudi’s interconnection with Egypt will generate 3,000 megawatts in 2020, Al-Falih claimed.
He also confirmed that the Kingdom will use atomic energy to generate electricity for the first time in a bid to boost the national economy and to ensure a competitive energy sector.
Addressing the forum later, Maher bin Abdullah Al-Odan, CEO of the Atomic Energy Sector of the King Abdullah City for Atomic and Renewable Energy (KA-CARE), said work is already underway to identify suitable sites for two nuclear reactors in the Kingdom to generate between 2,500 and 3,000 MW.
The setting-up of the reactors falls within the framework of a memorandum of understanding between the Korea Atomic Energy Research Institute (KAERI) and KA-CARE. Al-Odan revealed that 40 Saudi engineers will be sent to Korea for relevant training.
In a further boost for Saudi Arabia’s energy sector, Italian technical consulting and engineering company CESI SpA and GCC Electrical Testing Laboratory (GCC Lab) signed a term sheet for the development and operation of a state-of-the-art electrical testing facility in the Kingdom.
GCC Lab CEO Saleh Al-Amri called the partnership a “significant step in the line with Saudi Vision 2030.”
He added that it would “contribute significantly toward … enhancing energy efficiency.”
Topics to be discussed at the three-day forum include Policies and Plans for the Electricity Sector; Investment Opportunities and Localization of Industries and Technologies; Electricity System Efficiency; Development of Electricity Market and Electricity Interconnection; Electricity Sector Privatization; and Atomic and Renewable Energy.


Saudi Arabia ‘racing into the future’ with Formula E

Updated 15 December 2018
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Saudi Arabia ‘racing into the future’ with Formula E

  • A first for Saudi Arabia and the region, the event’s magnitude reflects the Kingdom’s goal of hosting major events and promoting them domestically and globally
  • “This is unprecedented and fabulous,” one concert-goer said. Another said: “I can’t believe I’m in Saudi Arabia.” 

RIYADH: Formula E is one for the books. Attracting fans from all over the world, the mega event — held in the historic Saudi town of Ad Diriyah, a UNESCO World Heritage Site — is set to revolutionize motorsports by using only electric race cars. 

Officially known as the ABB FIA Formula E Championship, the race expects to draw 40,000 attendees, with access not only to the race but also to the Kingdom’s largest ever festival for music, entertainment and cultural activities.

A first for Saudi Arabia and the region, the event’s magnitude reflects the Kingdom’s goal of hosting major events and promoting them domestically and globally.

A milestone was marked as Bandar Alesayi and Ahmed bin Khanen became the first Saudi I-Pace eTrophy racers, sponsored by the General Sports Authority (GSA). 

Both drivers predict increased grassroots support in the Kingdom for youths to train in carting and race-car driving.  

At 1.76 miles long with 21 corners, the track is somewhat tricky for first-time Formula E drivers.

“The system is like Mario Bros when they get the little star and go faster,” said Formula E founder and CEO Alejandro Agag. The new electric circuit in Saudi Arabia has been hailed as one of the best Formula E tracks.

The three-day event is hosting some of the world’s top singers, including Jason Derulo, Enrique Iglesias, Amr Diab, Black Eyed Peas, David Guetta and One Republic, along with DJ EJ. 

“This is unprecedented and fabulous,” one concert-goer said. Another said: “I can’t believe I’m in Saudi Arabia.” 

Outside the venue, Al-Bujairy, one of Ad Diriyah’s historic areas, hosts high-end restaurants, cafes and local designer outlets overlooking the historic district of At-Turaif, which was once home to the Saudi royal family and has newly opened for visitors.

Another area of interest is the Family Zone, with many events and activities to entertain all age groups. Men, women and children are given different driving experiences.

In Ad Diriyah’s Formula E, only one car is allowed per driver instead of two, making pit stops more crucial in terms of timing.  

“Attack mode” gives cars a temporary power boost from 200 to 225 kilowatts, equivalent to 268-302 horsepower. Drivers need to move to a certain area on the track to activate this mode.

“Saudi Arabia is racing into the future with Formula E, as we open the Kingdom to the world in a transformation that’s being supercharged by the Vision 2030 plan, driven forward by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman,” Prince Abdul Aziz bin Turki Al-Faisal Al-Saud, vice-chair of the Saudi Arabian General Sports Authority, told Arab News.