DESERT KINGDOM GETTING GREENER

The current population of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia is approximately 33.95 million people. In 2018, the power plants in the kingdom used natural gas (60%) and oil (40%) to generate electricity. Renewable energy is now in Saudi Arabia’s foreseeable future.

Saudi Arabia’s Renewable Energy Project Development Office (REPDO) has announced it will award 850 MW of wind capacity in 2019. The wind projects are expected to commence operation between 2021 and 2022. Wood Mackenzie Power & Renewables projects Saudi Arabia will become the Middle East’s largest wind power market within the next decade.

EDF Renewable Energy, Inc. and Masdar recently announced they had won the bid to build the country’s first wind farm. The 400 MW capacity Dumat al Jandal wind farm will be located 560 miles north of Riyadh. EDF Renewable Energy, headquartered in San Diego, California develops and operates renewable energy projects. Masdar, headquartered in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates is a renewable energy company.

The Dumat al Jandal wind farm will cost approximately U.S. $500 million and will provide power to 70,000 homes in the kingdom. The wind farm will generate electricity at a cost of U.S. 2.13 ¢ per kWh. The government of Saudi Arabia’s goal is to generate 10% of energy from renewable energy by 2023.

Why is Saudi Arabia actively developing renewable energy? Economics pure and simple. The kingdom’s economy is based primarily on exports of oil and natural gas. Fossil fuels are not a renewable resource and the country’s oil production has been in a steady decline over the past decade. The government intends to use renewable energy to meet the kingdom’s ever-increasing power requirements. Saudi Arabia’s goal is to only use oil and natural gas for foreign export.

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