As Saudi Arabia goes, so too does the Middle East. The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia has the largest economy in all of the Middle East while ranking 18th on the entire planet. The strength of Saudi Arabia’s economy is due largely to the country’s massive reserves of oil. With a country built on oil, some may find it surprising to hear that Saudi Arabia is pivoting toward renewable, clean, and green energy sources for future development. Under the leadership of King Salman and the Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman, Saudi Arabia has unveiled a massive and equally ambitious plan to develop 60 gigawatts of renewable energy over the next decade. Energy Attorney Amir Handjani has been closely following the developments through his work at Reuters among a slew of other publications. For a more general look at this green energy development, we will be able to walk you through the major details.
Renewable Energy Comes to the Kingdom
Under the guidance of King Salman, Saudi Arabia has unveiled an ambitious and comprehensive solar energy plan. The plan, which was unveiled by the Solar Outlook Report, was first introduced at the Solar Forum of the World Energy Summit. The report detailed the various efforts that Saudi Arabia was undertaking in order to provide access to green, clean, and renewable energy sources within the country. While the report is only just now gaining international attention, Saudi Arabia has been working through the process for the better part of the past three years.
According to a report published by the team at the Middle East Solar Industry Association, Saudi Arabia is already ahead of its target when it comes to crafting 60 gigawatts of clean and renewable energy by 2030. Martine Mamlouk is the Secretary-General at MESIA and he was able to reveal that 40 of the 60 gigawatts will come from solar resources. Solar power in Saudi Arabia has become increasingly important to the region due to the rising price of oil. As energy demands continue to rise while prices follow suit, citizens will increasingly look for more affordable and effective alternatives.
Solar research isn’t new to the region of Saudi Arabia. In fact, Saudi Arabia has been working with the United States to develop a solar research station within the village of Al-Uyaynah. Al-Uyaynah is located just northwest of Riyadh and is particularly notable due to its lack of electricity prior to the research station development.
As Saudi Arabia continues to focus on energy production, economists cannot help but see the benefit. Since introducing their green energy reformation, Saudi Arabia has aimed to reduce its fuel consumption by almost 1.5 million barrels of ‘oil equivalent’ per day by the year 2030. Such a large reduction in oil expenditure would mark a significant pivot for a country that has grown itself on the back of oil production. As Saudi Arabia continues to lead the charge in green and renewable energy sources, the rest of the world will likely begin to follow suit in some capacity.