Photo: Saudi National Atomic Energy Project SNAEP. Credit: KACARE - Photo: 2018

Ensuring Energy Sustainability for Future Generations in Saudi Arabia


The following is sourced from the King Abdullah City for Atomic and Renewable Energy website.

RIYADH (IDN-INPS) – Saudi Arabia is a dynamic nation facing high rates of demand for energy and desalinated water as the nation’s population grows and the utilization of low-priced electricity and desalinated water accelerates.

According to government estimates, the anticipated demand for electricity in the Kingdom is expected to exceed 120 GW in 2032. Unless alternative energy and energy conservation measures are implemented, the overall demand for fossil fuels for power, industry, transportation and desalination is estimated to grow from 3.4 million barrels of oil equivalent per day in 2010 to 8.3 million barrels of oil equivalent per day in 2028.

To build an energy program that can meet a considerable portion of this growing demand, and to develop technical knowledge, skills, and expertise, KACARE will utilize a balanced mix of economically viable and technically feasible atomic and renewable energy in a sustainable manner to generate power and preserve the Kingdom’s resources of oil and gas well into the future.

By doing so, Saudi Arabia is recognizing its vital role as a respected major supplier of energy globally whilst also ensuring the long term prosperity and energy security of the Kingdom.

No country has previously proposed a sustainable energy mix as comprehensive as the one KACARE is currently in the process of implementing.

In establishing the economic viability of the proposed activities a number of basic premises were examined including a reduction in peak demand through the enhancement of energy efficiency and energy conservation; the benefits to be derived from saving fossil fuels; generation-related matters such as load factors, management, and technologies and the understanding of their limitations; the potential for building human resource capacity; international product chains and the Saudi role in the alternative energy sector; and derivation of the maximum benefit for the local value chain.

Detailed research indicates that the introduction of alternative sources of energy will ensure a marked reduction in the utilization of oil for power generation and water desalination thus ensuring longer-term availability of hydrocarbons for export and utilization as feedstock in national industry.

The economic viability of the renewables sector becomes increasingly evident when consideration is given to Saudi Arabia’s year-long high solar intensity, the potential for utilization of geothermal and wind resources, and the conversion of waste to energy, all of which have minimal environmental impact.

Such renewable resources are, however, subject to fluctuation in supply and thus it is recognized they are best used in combination at times of peak demand whereas the other alternative, atomic energy, can provide an uninterrupted and mature source of electricity throughout the year. To meet the required demand KACARE is recommending the introduction of renewable and atomic energy gradually, such that in 2032, 50% of all electricity generated will be from non-fossil fuels.

In fulfilment of its activities, KACARE will ensure the highest standards of transparency, safety, and security and will comprehensively implement every possible safeguard to protect all stakeholders. To achieve these ends regular contact is being made with countries that have considerable alternative energy experience to ensure the transfer of knowledge and information on industry best practices and to help KACARE develop, sustain and enhance the local value chain.

Vital to KACARE is its contribution to national economic development, the creation of job opportunities for Saudi nationals and the building of their skills and expertise, whilst seeking to lead the way in renewables innovation. To these ends, significant investments in research and technology will be made as well as in the development of human capital through education and training in Saudi Arabia and overseas, thereby ensuring an on-going transference of knowledge to the Kingdom.

Throughout the implementation of atomic and renewable energy programs, KACARE will maintain close cooperation with all stakeholders through direct and indirect communication so as to raise awareness of all aspects of the activities being undertaken and especially to overcome any fears in the minds of the general public.

Sustainable Energy

The world depends on energy and is moving inexorably towards more sustainable sources than fossil fuel as they are a non-renewable resource. Saudi Arabia is no exception to this; it has the vision and drive to ensure the introduction of renewable sources of energy.

To provide a sustainable and efficient energy future for the Kingdom, KACARE has recommended a sustainable energy mix taking into account: the economics of the hydrocarbons saved; electricity and water demand patterns; technology choices; regulatory and physical infrastructure requirements; human capacity development; and value chain enhancement.

To maximize sustainability, KACARE has undertaken a comprehensive evaluation of the sustainable energy resources to ensure the derivation of their maximum benefit.

This has led to the conclusion that hydrocarbons will remain a prime element in the likely energy mix in 2032, and recommends supporting it with nuclear, solar, wind, waste-to-energy, and geothermal on the following basis: hydrocarbons – 60GW; nuclear – 17.6GW; solar – 41GW, of which 16GW will be generated through the use of photovoltaic cells and the balance of 25GW by concentrated solar power; wind – 9GW; waste-to-energy – 3GW; and geothermal – 1GW. In this scenario, nuclear, geothermal and waste-to-energy will provide the base load up to night-time demand during winter; photovoltaic energy will meet total daytime demand year round; concentrated solar power, with storage, will meet the maximum demand difference between photovoltaic and base load technologies; and hydrocarbons will meet the remaining demand.

In implementing its activities KACARE will pursue a transparent and open market policy to make developers comfortable with the processes involved and ensure competitive pricing. The ultimate aim is to form comprehensive partnership roles with local and international stakeholders in developing both the atomic and renewable sectors; this will include energy conservation, and energy support services such that 60% of all inputs for nuclear energy developments and 80% of solar-related activities will be sourced locally. [IDN-InDepthNews – 30 November 2018]

Photo: Saudi National Atomic Energy Project SNAEP. Credit: KACARE

IDN is the flagship of International Press Syndicate. –

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