Yes, you read that right : the oil superpower is willing to tap into its significant solar potential by installing no less than 41 gigawatts of solar capacity by 2032. The project is estimated to cost $109 billion (84 billion euros).
Out of the 41 GW of capacity, 16 will be brought by solar photovoltaic (PV) and the remaining 25 will be coming from Concentrated Solar Power (CSP). This will be a smart use of the Kingdom’s huge deserts.
As Green Prophet notes the project will enable the country to save half a million barrels of oil per day. Solar would then account for a third of the electricity production.
But this is not all as Saudi Arabia plans to invest in other low carbon energy sources.
Indeed, wind, geothermal and nuclear are due to bring an extra 21 GW of capacity. In another Green Prophet article, we learn that ” Saudi Arabia will spend more than $100 billion to build 16 nuclear energy plants within the next few years.”
Climate Progress brings us some more details :
Of the 41 GW of solar, photovoltaics is expected to comprise 16 GW, while concentrated solar power (CSP) will encompass 25 GW. “The CSP plants, with their higher capacity factor than PV, are foreseen as a bridge between base-load technologies (including geothermal, waste-to-energy and nuclear) and PV, which will provide coverage for daytime demand,” explained Apricum, a strategy consulting and transaction advisory firm specialized in renewable energy.
But there is more in this article :
In a recent speech, Saudi Arabia’s Oil Minister Ali Al-Naimi expressed concerns about climate change, saying “societal expectations on climate change are real, and our industry is expected to take a leadership role.”
It would be nice to think that the Saudis were doing this for climate change reasons. But they’re doing it for more selfish objectives: jobs and efficiency.
In that same speech, Al-Naimi explained the need to support new energy industries that can create more jobs than the oil sector: “We know that pumping oil out of the ground does not create many jobs. It does not foster an entrepreneurial spirit, nor does it sharpen critical faculties.”
It is interesting enough to read that an oil rich nation is thinking about the biggest renewable energy plans ever (unless I am mistaken), but to know that they are doing it for green jobs makes it even better.
Congratulations Saudi Arabia !