Saudi wind farm’s progress heralds a new era in clean energy

Saudi wind farm’s progress heralds a new era in clean energy
Saudi Arabia has moved a step closer to becoming the Middle East’s pace-setter in green energy and sustainability, with the delivery of the first consignment of turbines for a 400-megawatt wind-power plant. (Shutterstock))
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Updated 06 October 2020

Saudi wind farm’s progress heralds a new era in clean energy

Saudi wind farm’s progress heralds a new era in clean energy
  • Key construction milestone crossed with delivery of 20 turbines for Kingdom’s utility-scale wind farm in Al-Jouf
  • Kingdom’s renewable energy sector could create up to 750,000 jobs over the next decade, say business leaders

DUBAI: Saudi Arabia has moved a step closer to becoming the Middle East’s pace-setter in green energy and sustainability, with the delivery of the first consignment of turbines for a 400-megawatt wind-power plant.

Manufactured by the Danish company Vestas, 20 turbines for the $500 million Dumat Al-Jandal wind farm arrived recently at Duba port.

Saudi Arabia’s first utility-scale wind-power source, Dumat Al-Jandal is being developed by a consortium led by EDF Renewables of France in partnership with Abu Dhabi-based Masdar. Once operational, it will the largest wind farm in the Middle East.

Construction work commenced last August and commercial operations are due to start in the first quarter of 2022. Masdar and EDF Renewables respectively own 49 and 51 percent of the Dumat Al-Jandal project.

“We are proud to be among the first contributors to the Kingdom’s clean energy transition, working in collaboration with Nesma Holding,” said Yousif Al-Ali, executive director of Masdar. “When operational, Dumat Al-Jandal will displace 885,000 tons of carbon dioxide each year, while generating electricity to power 70,000 homes.”

The turbines comprise towers, blades and nacelles, which will be assembled at the project site, 900 kilometers north of Riyadh in the Al-Jouf region. The project will include 99 Vestas wind turbines, each with a hub height of 130 meters and rotor diameter of 150 meters.

Vestas, which has over 40 years of experience in the wind industry and 115 gigawatts of installed capacity worldwide, brings expertise to support the region in its transition to a decarbonized and decentralized energy system.




Saudi Arabia’s first utility-scale wind-power source, Dumat Al-Jandal is being developed by a consortium led by EDF Renewables of France in partnership with Abu Dhabi-based Masdar. (Supplied/Masdar)

“Saudi Arabia is ready to make that transition and to become a beacon of green energy and sustainability for the rest of its neighboring countries to follow suit,” said Muhamed Bou-Zeid, general manager of Vestas Middle East and North Africa.

He described the delivery of the first batch of wind turbines as a major milestone in Dumat Al-Jandal’s development as well as in Saudi Arabia’s National Renewable Energy Program.

“The ongoing progress at the wind farm site has largely been made possible by the Kingdom and its governmental authorities, which have graciously and wholeheartedly supported the consortium under the auspices of the National Renewable Energy Program,” he told Arab News.

The Renewable Energy Project Development Office of Saudi Arabia’s Ministry of Energy awarded the project to the EDF Renewables-Masdar consortium in January 2019 after a competitive tender.

INNUMBERS

Saudi Wind Farms

* 400MW Capacity of Dumal Al-Jandal plan.

* $500m Estimated investment.

* 2019 Start of project construction.

* 16GW KSA’s wind-energy target for 2030.

Its tariff of $21.3 per megawatt-hour (MWh), the lowest bid submitted, was reduced to $19.9/MWh at financial close, making Dumat Al-Jandal the most cost-efficient wind-energy project in the world.

“Not only will Dumat Al-Jandal provide power to support the Kingdom’s economic growth plans, but it will deliver valuable employment, training and economic opportunities to Saudis, especially in Al-Jouf,” Al-Ali said. “The project will advance Saudization goals of employing Saudi nationals and leave a positive impact on Al-Jouf.”

Materials for the farm will be bought locally, creating employment and training opportunities for Saudis to develop expertise and technological knowledge. “In this way, the project will help accelerate the Kingdom’s transition to a knowledge-based economy,” he added.

According to the US-Saudi Arabian Business Council, the development of Saudi Arabia’s renewable energy sector could create up to 750,000 jobs over the next decade, as the Kingdom pushes to generate 7 percent of its total electricity output from renewables by 2030.

It will also benefit from a 20-year power purchase agreement with the Saudi Power Procurement Company, a subsidiary of the Saudi Electricity Company, the Kingdom’s power generation and distribution company.




Renewable energy projects, including wind and solar, are planned across more than 35 parks in Saudi Arabia by 2030. (AFP via Getty Images/File Photo)

“Dumat Al-Jandal is committed to achieving a lasting positive community impact through procuring skills and materials in Saudi Arabia, supporting local jobs and businesses, and accelerating knowledge transfer,” said Mohamed Jameel Al-Ramahi, chief executive officer of Masdar.

Saudi Arabia’s renewable energy program aims to contribute to a sustainable future, preserve non-renewable fossil fuel resources and safeguard the Kingdom’s international energy leadership, according to the King Abdullah City for Atomic and Renewable Energy. That way, the program aims to ensure greater long-term global energy market stability.

Renewable energy projects, including wind and solar, are planned across more than 35 parks in Saudi Arabia by 2030. “The Kingdom is blessed with an abundance of energy sources such as wind, sun and fossil fuels,” Al-Ali said.

“Such a diversified supply of energy can be used strategically to generate significant returns. For example, if solar and wind energy technologies can be used to generate electricity, the Kingdom can benefit by using fossil fuels in other applications that enhance economic performance.”

The project is aligned “perfectly” with the Kingdom’s Vision 2030, as it would significantly increase the contribution of renewable energy within the country’s overall energy mix and foster diversification of energy resources, Al-Ali said.




The Renewable Energy Project Development Office of Saudi Arabia’s Ministry of Energy awarded the project to the EDF Renewables-Masdar consortium in January 2019 after a competitive tender. (Supplied/Masdar)

Osama bin Abdulwahab Khawandanah, chief executive officer of the Saudi Power Procurement Company, responsible for purchasing the entire output, said Dumat Al-Jandal was its first wind-energy project that would produce electricity at scale. 

“As a key project under the King Salman Renewable Energy Initiative, it is playing a crucial role in diversifying Saudi Arabia’s power mix sustainably,” he said. “The wind farm reflects our strong partnership with the private sector and the commercial viability of wind energy. This enables us to establish a competitive renewable energy sector in the Kingdom while reducing our carbon emissions in line with Vision 2030.”

Masdar continues to advance strategic projects to support the country’s renewable energy sector. At the beginning of 2019, the organization had set a target of doubling its renewable capacity — then at 4 gigawatts — within five years. With key projects such as Dumat-Al Jandal, it now expects to exceed that target before the end of 2020 ­— that is, within two years.

“There is no doubt that the Saudi market is one of the most important, not only in the region but globally,” Al-Ali told Arab News. “The Saudi market is highly attractive to clean energy developers because it is characterized by sufficient flexibility and attractive policies, which let developers submit competitive tenders and bids.”

Masdar has submitted proposals for other solar and wind-energy projects across Saudi Arabia, he said. “This reflects our commitment to the Saudi market and our confidence in the Kingdom’s ability to become a hub for large-scale renewable energy projects that are commercially viable.”

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Twitter: @CalineMalek


Saudi ban remains on 20 countries when flights resume on May 17

Saudi ban remains on 20 countries when flights resume on May 17
Updated 6 sec ago

Saudi ban remains on 20 countries when flights resume on May 17

Saudi ban remains on 20 countries when flights resume on May 17
  • Health Ministry reports 1,028 new coronavirus cases, 824 recoveries, 12 deaths

JEDDAH: The resumption of international flights at 1 a.m. on May 17 will exclude the 20 countries where the ban on flights continues as part of preventive measures to curb the spread of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19), said Saudia airline.
The banned countries, named by the Ministry of Interior, are: Argentina, the UAE, Germany, the US, Indonesia, Ireland, Italy, Pakistan, Brazil, Portugal, the UK, Turkey, South Africa, Sweden, Switzerland, France, Lebanon, Egypt, India and Japan.
The clarification came in response to a citizen’s query about whether the travel suspensions will continue.
Noncitizens, diplomats, health practitioners and their families traveling from the listed countries have been denied entry to the Kingdom since Feb. 3. The ban applies to arriving passengers who have passed through any of the prohibited countries in the 14 days prior to their application to enter the Kingdom.
Meanwhile, Ministry of Education employees who have yet to receive the COVID-19 vaccine are to be identified and put on a list, Saudi online newspaper Ajel reported.
The decision is part of official efforts to ensure a swift return to normal schooling, while safeguarding the health and safety of students and staff.
Education Minister Hamad Al-Asheikh previously called on ministry employees to arrange for vaccination in time for the start of the coming academic year.
Saudi authorities on Wednesday reported 12 additional deaths related to COVID-19. The death toll now stands at 6,858. The Ministry of Health reported 1,028 new cases, meaning that 408,038 people have contracted the disease, of which 9,818 remain active.
It said 431 of the new cases were in Riyadh, 220 in Makkah, 157 in the Eastern Province and 45 in Madinah. Another 824 patients recovered from the disease, bringing the total number of recoveries to 391,362.
Saudi Arabia has conducted 16,352,116 PCR tests, including 58,507 in the previous 24 hours.
Saudi health clinics set up by the ministry as testing hubs or treatment centers have helped hundreds of thousands of people around the Kingdom since the outbreak of the pandemic.
Saudis and expats in the Kingdom continue to receive coronavirus vaccine shots, with 7,537,798 people having been inoculated so far.


DiplomaticQuarter: Outgoing Pakistan ambassador meets Eastern Province governor

DiplomaticQuarter: Outgoing Pakistan ambassador meets Eastern Province governor
Updated 37 min 31 sec ago

DiplomaticQuarter: Outgoing Pakistan ambassador meets Eastern Province governor

DiplomaticQuarter: Outgoing Pakistan ambassador meets Eastern Province governor

Pakistani Ambassador to Saudi Arabia Raja Ali Ejaz called on Eastern Province Gov. Prince Saud bin Naif on the occasion of the end of his diplomatic duty in Riyadh.
The governor welcomed the ambassador at a reception, and they talked about the good relations between the two countries and various ways to further enhance mutual cooperation, said the Pakistani Embassy.
Ejaz thanked Prince Saud for the warm hospitality extended to him, and expressed his gratitude to King Salman and Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman for rendering all assistance to Pakistani expatriates during the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.
The ambassador also thanked Prince Saud for his support, and for looking after Pakistani expatriates residing in the province. “The Pakistani populace was very happy under the governor’s kind patronage,” Ejaz told Arab News.
Prince Saud praised the Pakistani community for being loyal and hard-working, and said the two countries and peoples have cemented an unbreakable bond of friendship.
He expressed certainty that bilateral relations will continue to grow, wishing Ejaz well for his future assignments and looking forward to maintaining contact.
Offering his thanks to all those who helped him carry out his work successfully, Ejaz said Saudi Arabia is a wonderful country in which he had a wonderful experience serving his compatriots.
He added that his successful stint in the Kingdom was mainly due to the continuous cooperation received from the Saudi government, the private sector and his colleagues.


NEOM launches 3 initiatives to support UN Sustainable Development Goals

NEOM launches 3 initiatives to support UN Sustainable Development Goals
Updated 22 April 2021

NEOM launches 3 initiatives to support UN Sustainable Development Goals

NEOM launches 3 initiatives to support UN Sustainable Development Goals
  • The initiatives were launched to celebrate World Creativity and Innovation Day
  • Department will work alongside MiSK Leadership, CyberX and Digital Giving programs

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia’s NEOM, a futuristic $500 billion megacity development, announced on Wednesday that it has launched three initiatives represented by the Social Responsibility Department.
The initiatives aim to support the sustainable development goals, celebrate the World Creativity and Innovation Day, and encourage the participation of the local community in developing innovative solutions that would support the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDG).
The department said that it will work alongside the MiSK Leadership, CyberX and Digital Giving programs, and with the University of Tabuk and the General Authority for Small and Medium Enterprises, to launch these initiatives.
The first initiative is represented in the third batch of the Spark initiative and includes an innovative six-week training program designed to enhance the spirit of entrepreneurship among Saudi youth, the department said in a statement published by the Saudi Press Agency.
It introduces participants to the critical steps involved in starting a business and supports them with the necessary tools to form bright business ideas. From there, participants can turn them into vivid and realistic businesses for a sustainable future, in order for them to be able to present them to investors later.
The program is in support of the Kingdom’s drive to increase the participation of small and medium-sized enterprises in driving economic growth.
Last year, two batches of the program were successfully launched, benefiting 300 graduates, including 10 winners who passed the final round of Spark Tank.
The second initiative is the NEOM Generation Innovation Challenge, which will be held in partnership with the Industrial and Robot Innovation Center at the University of Tabuk. It involves challenging students from all over the Kingdom to present their ideas in the fields of water, energy, media, entertainment, transportation, health and food.
The ideas and their solutions must be centralized using artificial intelligence (AI) systems and be implementable in NEOM’s corresponding sectors. The participants will be evaluated based on their creativity, AI integration, and the extent to which their ideas align with NEOM’s approaches.
The third initiative is the CyberX Bootcamps, a non-profit platform for electronic awareness and digital knowledge under the supervision of the Digital Giving initiative. A training camp on AI and machine learning for youth will be held.
The department said it will spread awareness of the SDGs and provide opportunities for the local community to learn and gain important knowledge on sustainable development through quality education, gender equality, decent work and economic growth, sustainable cities and societies, as well as partnerships to achieve the goals.


Saudi aviation authority tightens COVID-19 controls at airports

The General Authority of Civil Aviation calls on everyone to adhere to the COVID-19 preventative measures. (SPA)
The General Authority of Civil Aviation calls on everyone to adhere to the COVID-19 preventative measures. (SPA)
Updated 22 April 2021

Saudi aviation authority tightens COVID-19 controls at airports

The General Authority of Civil Aviation calls on everyone to adhere to the COVID-19 preventative measures. (SPA)
  • GACA introduced screening points and appointed observers to ensure measures are fully implemented

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia’s aviation authority, in cooperation with security services, has stepped up inspections and control visits to airports and other authority buildings and facilities to monitor violations of precautionary measures to prevent the spread of COVID-19.
The General Authority of Civil Aviation (GACA) has also introduced screening points to measure temperatures or check health data through the Tawakkalna app. It has also appointed a protocol officer for each facility and more than 250 observers to ensure that precautionary measures are fully implemented and followed.
In addition, GACA said it has increased educational awareness messages, and told businesses and other organizations operating in airports to adhere to health precautions.
GACA President Abdulaziz Al-Duaij stressed the importance of continuing to adhere to safety protocols set by the Ministry of Health — including wearing face masks at all times, continuous sterilization efforts, procedures to prevent overcrowding, and maintaining social distancing — and warned against complacency.
He said that only individuals registered with the Tawakkalna app will be allowed entry to authority buildings. He urged everyone to follow “the recommended health measures in order to preserve the gains achieved in combating the coronavirus” in the Kingdom which, he added, would not have been achieved without “the generous support from the Saudi leadership that placed citizens’ health and safety first and foremost.”
GACA added that it is working with the Ministry of Health to implement precautionary measures to prevent the spread of the virus at airports, and has put in place a package of health measures that meet global health and safety standards.


Saudi aid agency delivers $1.5 million medical aid package to Pakistan

Saudi aid agency delivers $1.5 million medical aid package to Pakistan
Updated 21 April 2021

Saudi aid agency delivers $1.5 million medical aid package to Pakistan

Saudi aid agency delivers $1.5 million medical aid package to Pakistan

The King Salman Humanitarian Aid and Relief Center (KSrelief) has delivered a special medical aid package worth $1.5 million to help combat the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in Pakistan.
The consignment was officially handed over — on behalf of the center — by the Saudi ambassador to Pakistan, Nawaf bin Said Al-Malki, to Akhtar Nawaz, chairman of the Pakistani National Disaster Management Authority, at the Saudi Embassy in Islamabad.
Items included 25,000 sterile surgical suits, 125,000 nonsterile surgical suits, 188,000 KN95 masks, 1,925,000 surgical masks, 9,500 nitrile gloves, and 46 respirators.
Nawaz thanked KSrelief for the medical equipment which he said would help his country’s fight against the COVID-19 outbreak. Saudi Arabia, through KSrelief, supports numerous health programs around the world aimed at tackling the COVID-19 pandemic.