MOSCOW (MRC) -- Saudi Arabia aims
to produce 10% of its power from renewable sources in the next six years as it
pushes ahead with a multi-billion-dollar plan to diversify its energy mix and
free up more crude oil for export, said Reuters.
drive by the world's top oil exporter will see the kingdom developing 30 solar
and wind projects by 2023 to boost its electricity generation and reduce crude
oil burning. Saudi Arabia is targeting 9.5 gigawatt (GW) of renewable energy by
2023. The renewables initiative involves investment estimated between USD30 B
and USD50 B.
Saudi Energy Minister Khalid al-Falih kicked off the massive
renewable program in Riyadh on Monday by announcing the beginning of the bidding
process for a 300 MW solar power project, which is expected to come online by
2018-2019. "The energy mix to produce electricity will change, today the kingdom
uses large quantities of oil liquids, including crude, fuel oil and diesel,"
Falih said. "So the percentage of renewable energy by 2023 (will be) 10% of
total installed capacity in the kingdom."
Under an economic reform
program launched last year, known as Vision 2030, Saudi Arabia is seeking to use
non-oil means to generate much of its additional future energy needs to avoid
running down oil resources and diversify its economy.
The kingdom is
restructuring its energy sector as part of Vision 2030 and a focus on renewable
projects is a pillar of this transformation as it would help develop the private
sector and create thousands of jobs.
"Since the restructuring of the
energy sector ... one of our key priorities is to engage with the private
sector," Falih said, adding he was confident the program would be
Saudi Arabia has short-listed 27 companies for its solar power
project and 24 firms for its wind project, the energy ministry said last week.
France's EDF Energies Nouvelles, Japanese companies Marubeni Corp and Mitsui
& Co and Saudi Acwa Power are among the firms which have qualified to bid
for the 300 MW solar PV project in Sakaka, the al-Jouf Province in the north of
Abu Dhabi Future Energy Company (Masdar), GE, Marubeni
Corporation, Mitsui & Co., JGC Corp, SNC Lavalin Arabia and Iberdrola
Renovables Energia are among those qualified to bid for the 400 MW wind farm
project in Midyan in the northwest.
The kingdom also plans to launch a
second bidding round for 400 MW of wind power at a project in Domat al-Jandal in
al-Jouf Province by the fourth quarter of this year, which will be followed by
620 MW of solar power, Turki Shehri, head of the renewable energy project
development office at the energy ministry told reporters on Monday. "This will
come in stages. It (wind power project) will come in the fourth quarter of this
year with Domat al-Jandal, and then the 620 MW (solar) will come immediately
after that in phases," he said.
The projects will be tendered on a build,
operate and own basis, meaning the companies which win the projects will retain
ownership for 20 years for the solar plants and 25 years for the wind, Shehri
said. State oil giant Saudi Aramco would be interested in investing in the
second bidding round for renewable projects as it aims to play a major role in
the sector, Abdulaziz al-Judaimi, senior vice president for downstream at Aramco
Aramco, which is preparing to list up to 5% of its shares by next
year, has created a department for renewables within the company to develop wind
and solar projects.