Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Saudi Arabia unveils $50bn renewable energy plan

Saudi Arabia is kicking off its $50 billion renewable-energy push as the world’s top crude exporter turns to solar and wind power to temper domestic oil use in meeting growing energy demand, said a report.

The move comes in line with the Saudi government's plan to develop almost 10 gigawatts of renewable energy by 2023, requiring investment of $30 billion to $50 billion, reported Bloomberg.

Middle Eastern countries like Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Jordan and Morocco are developing renewable energy to either curb their fuel imports or conserve more valuable oil that could otherwise be exported.

The Saudi energy ministry has invited leading international and regional companies to submit bids for 700 megawatts (MW) of wind and solar power plant projects by March 20.

The projects include a 300 MW solar facility at Sakaka in the country’s northern Al Jouf province and a   400 MW wind plant at Midyan in northwestern Tabuk province, he added.

Those selected will be announced by April 10 and qualified bidders will be able to present their offers for the projects starting on April 17 through July, stated the report, citing the ministry.

“This marks the starting point of a long and sustained program of renewable energy deployment in Saudi Arabia that will not only diversify our power mix but also catalyze economic development,” Khalid Al-Falih, the energy minister.

The ministry’s Renewable Energy Project Development Office intends to set up “the most attractive, competitive and well executed government renewable energy investment programs in the world,” stated Al Falih.

Building more solar, wind and nuclear power plants is part of a broader plan that the kingdom announced in April to diversify away from crude sales as the main source of government income, he added.

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