Saudi Arabia To Spend Over $133 Billion On Energy Projects In 10 Years

December 3, 2012Saudi Arabiaby EW News Desk Team


Saudi Arabia “needs” to invest over 500 billion riyals ($133 billion) into new energy projects over the next ten years if the nation is to meet its growing power demand, said a government official on Sunday, after intermittent power cuts had occurred in the summer on the back of increased air-conditioning usage.

“There is a need for projects over the next 10 years with investments that exceed 500 billion riyals,” said Saudi Water and Electricity Minister Abdullah Al-Hussayen at the Saudi Water & Power Forum & Exhibition (SWPF) 2012 as cited by Reuters; noting that power consumption had risen by 9 percent in the first half of 2012, while peak demand in the summer was up 7 percent.

Al-Hussayen added that his ministry was looking to reduce its reliance on oil and gas, focusing instead on alternative energy sources including solar, nuclear, geothermal and wind power.

“SWPF will take a fresh look at the opportunities for participation and will focus on how we can work together to meet growing demand for more efficient use and sustainable water and power,” the minister said, according to the Saudi Gazette.

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Earlier this year, the Kingdom announced that it would spend $109 billion over the next two decades to produce 41,000 megawatts of solar power capacity, setting up the King Abdullah City for Atomic and Renewable Energy to achieve this aim.

According to Khalid al-Suliman, vice president of the King Abdullah City facility, the country will begin work on its first solar-power facility early next year, taking as much as 24 months to complete.

Al-Suliman told the state-owned Saudi Press Agency that the government wanted renewables and nuclear reactors to supply half of the Kingdom’s electricity in the coming two decades. In May this year, the government announced that it was seeking $109 billion in investment to create a solar industry, while $100 billion may also be spent to build 17 nuclear reactors.

“We would expect consumption to continue to outstrip population growth as Saudi Arabia’s currently young population ages and consumer spending increases supported by rising GDP per capita,” warned Citigroup analyst Heidy Rehman in a report earlier this year.

“If Saudi Arabian oil consumption grows in line with peak power demand, the country could be a net oil importer by 2030,” Rehman further warned.

Related: Saudi Arabia May Become Net Oil Importer By 2030: Citigroup

Related: MENA To Invest $740 Billion On Energy Projects Through 2017: Report

Related: U.S. to Overtake Saudi Arabia as Top Oil Producer By 2017

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