Saudi Arabia aims to become the world’s foremost market for renewable energy with an aggressive investment budget of $109 billion. By 2032, the country strives to generate as much as a third of the Kingdom’s energy demands using renewable energy (54 GW).
Following the publicity surrounding the country’s major investment drive, King Abdullah City for Atomic and Renewable Energy (KACARE) released a series of documents detailing the revised National Energy Plan. In addition to the 41 GW of solar power, 25 GW of CSP and 16 GW of PV, the Kingdom is aiming to generate 18 GW of nuclear energy, 3 GW of waste to energy, 1 GW of geothermal and an additional 9 GW of wind power, specifically for water desalination plants.
Impressive and noble though the country’s renewable energy goals maybe, the question remains how will the world’s largest exporter of oil, so dependent on conventional energy sources for their power demand, achieve such a transformation.
Establishing a time-line with long-term policies is at the top of the list.
According to Keisuke Sadamori, director of the energy markets and security directorate, International Energy Agency (IEA), "One of the key messages from the Medium Term Renewable Energy Market Report 2013 by the IEA is that policy uncertainty is the largest risk for renewable investment. Every country, including Saudi Arabia, should introduce long-term policies to provide a predictable and reliable framework to support renewable deployment."
Sadamori, alongside various other international and regional renewable energy experts, will be discussing the key challenges faced by Saudi Arabia and the steps toward overcoming them at the upcoming 3rd Annual Solar Arabia Summit. Taking place on Sept. 29-30 in Riyadh, the summit is hosting 35 experts who will each share their experience in the industry and discuss the latest market trends and policy development in the Kingdom.
Rasheed M. Alzahrani, CEO, Riyadh Valley Company, is also speaking at the summit to discuss joint ventures, partnerships and investments in renewable energy in the Kingdom.
He also acknowledges that "high level plans are already in place, but the major challenge in the Kingdom lies in the absence of a detailed time-line for a clear and gradual shift to renewable energy in the country and the slow adoption and advancement in renewable energy initiatives."
When asked about his company’s participation in the summit, Alzahrani said: "We intend to invest in this sector both in early and late stage opportunities that will add value to the local needs. We will use this platform to introduce RVC and its initiatives and to help foster the development of an energy ecosystem in KSA."
Alongside the summit’s conference agenda, 250 Saudi energy stakeholders are attending to have one-to-one business meetings with up to 40 international solution and service providers.
Confirmed participants include Schneider Electric, Total, Sterling and Wilson, SMA Technology and Trishe Renewables.