Saudi energy minister reveals Kingdom’s ambitious electricity plans

Minister of Energy, Industry and Mineral Resources Khalid Al-Falih
Updated 12 October 2017

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.


‘Dare to dream,’ football hero Thierry Henry tells Saudi fans

Footballing great Thierry Henry thrills fans as he signs 10 footballs on stage and tosses them to the audience. (Photo/Supplied)
Updated 12 min 32 sec ago

‘Dare to dream,’ football hero Thierry Henry tells Saudi fans

  • Fans got up close and personal with the former champion during a segment called the lightning round, where Henry had to answer questions in 10 seconds

DHAHRAN: Stepping onto the Tanween stage in front of a sold-out venue full of cheering fans, footballing great Thierry Henry was quick to say how “hyped” he was to meet his Saudi supporters.
As a guest and speaker at Tanween Season, the former Arsenal striker and French international faced a busy schedule on Saturday after arriving at King Abdulaziz Center for World Culture (Ithra) in Dhahran.
First, he had a “meet and greet” with fans, many wearing Arsenal shirts, which was quickly followed by a discussion of the theme for this year’s event, “Play.”
After two young footballers from Riyadh performed a series of tricks that included balancing a football on one leg, then kicking it in the air to land on their backs, Henry said: “I would have broken my back trying to do that. It’s not easy.”
On his second visit to Saudi Arabia — the first was to Riyadh last year — Henry said that he was impressed by this year’s Tanween theme since he had seen firsthand the results of a children’s quality-of-life program at Tanween.
“What I liked most was to see the smiles on the faces of those children when I was walking around the impressive building. Being able to dream is key for me, but seeing how the youngsters were interacting, and how happy they were with their families walking around, was just priceless,” he said.
Growing up, Henry’s father played an important role in his development. The footballer did not miss a beat when answering that his father was his idol. “My dad was the hardest man to please; to put a smile on his face was the hardest thing to do,” he said.
Although the footballer grew up in a “not so great” Paris neighborhood, he considered it an enriching cultural experience. “It was great for me at the time because it allowed me to travel, although I wasn’t really traveling,” he said.
France’s colonial history meant he was exposed to different cultures early in his life.
“If I going upstairs to have couscous, to the second floor to have Senegalese food, or to eat with the Portuguese downstairs, it allowed me to travel, staying where I was,” he explained.
During his talk Henry showed that his Arabic extends to common niceties such as “shukran,” “afwan” and “alsalamau alaikum.”
Having an impact on the English Premier League and his role in Arsenal’s record-breaking era almost two decades ago are more important to him that being considered the world’s best striker, he said. As for his favorite stadium, Henry was quick to choose Highbury.
Offering advice to younger Saudis in the audience, Henry urged them to face their problems calmly and cleverly.
“Don’t run away. Face it and don’t be scared to fail. Come back again, but smarter,” he said.
Fans got up close and personal with the former champion during a segment called the lightning round, where Henry had to answer questions in 10 seconds. That revealed that he has always admired Muhammad Ali as the greatest, Messi is his current favorite football player and winning the World Cup was the most memorable moment in his career.
After the talk, Henry thrilled the crowd — a reminder of his playing days — by tossing 10 footballs to lucky fans who cheered as he left the stage.