Masdar chief urges Saudi Arabia to tap wind energy

Mohamed Jameel Al-Ramahi, CEO of Masdar. (Photo courtesy: social media)
Updated 11 November 2017

Masdar chief urges Saudi Arabia to tap wind energy

DUBAI: Wind power represents a huge untapped source of energy for Saudi Arabia, according to the CEO of Masdar.
Saudi Arabia’s Red Sea coast enjoys attractive wind resources similar to parts of Jordan where the Abu Dhabi-based company has also helped to develop wind power, said Mohamed Jameel Al-Ramahi, CEO of Masdar, in an interview on the sidelines of a World Economic Forum event in Dubai.
But the renewable energy source may be more challenging to develop in Masdar’s UAE home, where it has also been assessing its potential.
“In the UAE, it is not feasible,” he said. “We do have certain pockets of wind corridors where we could use new technology – for example now you have slow wind turbines for slow wind speeds –that could potentially be OK for these regions – but still the pricing is not right.’
Saudi Arabia offers considerably more potential for the development of wind energy.
“In the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, wind will play a very important role. It is blessed with a lot of resources – not only solar,’ he said.
Masdar is the region’s largest exporter of renewable energy – operating utility-scale projects as well and a player in everything from off-grid power generation in Africa to autonomous vehicles.
Al-Ramahi said that Masdar was actively targeting projects in the Kingdom, which has started to invest heavily in renewable energy as part of a broader economic reform plan aimed at reducing its reliance on oil.
The Kingdom wants to develop about 9.5 gigawatts of renewable energy by 2023 – with solar power accounting for the lion’s share.
Masdar has invested about 10 billion dirhams ($2.7 billion) in projects worldwide.


Dubai’s Jumeirah eyes Saudi mega-projects

Updated 24 January 2020

Dubai’s Jumeirah eyes Saudi mega-projects

  • NEOM and Red Sea scheme high on group’s ‘address’ list, CEO tells Arab News

DAVOS: Jumeirah, the leading hotels and leisure group in the Middle East, is planning big developments in Saudi Arabia’s “mega-projects,” CEO Jose Silva told Arab News on the sidelines of the World Economic Forum annual meeting in Davos.

“We must be in those locations, but I want to make sure we get the right ‘address.’ Jumeiah always wants to be among the top three sites on any location. If someone convinces me this is the right address, I will jump into it,” he said.

Silva made clear he was thinking primarily about the two big development on the Kingdom’s west coast — the NEOM metropolis and the Red Sea project further south along the coast. He is believed to be in contact with Saudi Arabian tourism authorities and potential partners in the Kingdom.

Silva also said that Jumeirah was keen to open hotels in Makkah and Madinah, which he called “preferred entry” points in the Kingdom. Work has already begun on two sites.

“It is very important for us to acquire the right assets and the right designers. Unless we control the architect, we will not do it. We have to be involved in the design process,” he said.

A big presence in Saudi Arabia would be part of the strategy of “going global” that Silva has advanced in his first two years a head of the UAE-based hotels, leisure and restaurants business, which is owned by the government
of Dubai.

Last year, Jumeirah bought the Capri Palace on the eponymous Italian island, and is also involved in a major expansion plan in Asia, with six new projects underway in China, Indonesia and Malaysia.

Silva is also overseeing a $100 million renovation of the Carlton hotel in London’s Belgravia. Expansion via luxury hotel properties in other European capitals is also being considered.

In Dubai, he has brought in world-class managers to restaurants in the group’s flagship properties in Madinat and Burj Al Arab, with a clutch of “celebrity chefs” in place in restaurants there. 

“We want to be the best brand for ‘destination dining’,” he said.