Saudi leaders congratulate Iran’s new president

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia has set itself a target of sourcing at least 50 per cent of its electricity from renewable sources by 2030. The country has invested heavily in diversifying its energy mix to meet its commitment to reducing carbon emissions and promoting sustainable development.

To promote public awareness of renewable energy technologies and achieve the goals of Vision 2030, the King Abdullah Interactive Center for Atomic and Renewable Energy was established in Riyadh in 2017.

“The National Renewable Energy Programme, with all the projects it has implemented and is currently implementing, truly reflects how promising this strategic initiative is in terms of achieving Vision 2030,” Reham Aldous, head of content and programme development at the centre, told Arab News.

Wind

Saudi Arabia has huge wind energy potential, particularly in the northwestern and coastal regions. The kingdom has set a goal of producing 50 gigawatts of wind power by 2030.

In 2021, Saudi Arabia inaugurated its first commercial wind farm, the 400-megawatt Dumat Al-Jandal project, which is now the largest in the Middle East, with more major wind projects in the pipeline.

The Duma Al-Jandal wind farm in Saudi Arabia’s northern Al-Jouf province. (Photo by Vision 2030)

Sunny

As one of the sunniest countries in the world, Saudi Arabia has an abundance of solar energy resources. The country aims to install 50 GW of solar capacity by 2030.

Major projects include the 300-MW Sakaka Solar Power Plant, the 420-MW Sudair Solar Park and the planned 2-GW Al-Shuaibah Solar Project. Saudi Arabia is also exploring innovative applications such as floating solar farms on its reservoirs.

A view of a solar power plant in Uyayna, north of Riyadh, March 29, 2018. (AFP/File)

Opened in 2021, the Sakaka Solar Power Plant in Al-Jouf uses photovoltaic technology. It consists of more than 1.2 million solar panels spread over 6 square kilometers and produces affordable energy at just $0.023 per kWh.

In addition to using photovoltaic cells to capture sunlight, another method is solar thermal energy, in which mirrors focus sunlight on a specific spot to collect and concentrate it, allowing very high temperatures to be achieved, which are used to generate electricity.

Hydro

Although Saudi Arabia’s hydropower potential is limited due to the small number of moving reservoirs, the country does have several small hydropower plants.

The Baisha Dam in the southwest generates about 2.1 MW of power. Saudi Arabia is also exploring the potential of pumped-storage hydropower projects.

Saudi Arabia also has several small hydroelectric plants. (Photo: Shutterstock)

Geothermal

Saudi Arabia has begun exploring its geothermal energy resources, particularly in the volcanic areas of the Hijaz and Asir Mountains.

Pilot projects are underway to assess the feasibility of geothermal energy generation in the Kingdom, with early estimates indicating a potential of up to 3 GW of geothermal capacity.

Aerial view of Kamojang geothermal power plant in Garut, West Java, Indonesia. (Shutterstock)

Biography

Saudi Arabia has made progress in developing its bioenergy sector, with a primary focus on biofuels.

The Kingdom aims to produce 9.5 million liters of bioethanol and 0.3 million liters of biodiesel annually by 2030. Projects to convert agricultural and municipal waste into energy are also being considered.

Biogas plant behind a corn field. (Photo by Shutterstock)

Wind power, biofuels, geothermal energy and solar energy use the kinetic energy produced by these sources to spin turbines, either directly or by heating water to produce steam, thereby generating electricity.

Saudi Arabia’s Ministry of Energy is a driving force in the country’s transformation towards renewable energy sources.

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The ministry has set clean energy targets, launched project tenders and partnered with local and international stakeholders to develop a strong renewable energy sector.

Through strategic policies, dedicated financing and collaborative efforts, the Ministry of Energy has played a key role in ensuring Saudi Arabia’s position as a regional leader in the global transition towards sustainable energy production.

DO YOUKNOW?

Saudi Arabia is developing some of the largest solar projects in the world, including the Sakaka power plant in Al-Jouf.

The Kingdom is developing large-scale wind farms, such as the 400MW Dumat Al-Jandal project.

The company is also exploring the potential of “green hydrogen” — produced using renewable energy sources.

The Ministry’s comprehensive approach to integrating renewable energy sources has been crucial to diversifying the Kingdom’s energy mix and securing its long-term energy future.

As Aldous of Mishkat Interactive Center said, much of this success is due to Saudi Arabia’s geographical location.

“The Kingdom is characterized by an abundance of renewable energy resources,” she said, “highlighting solar energy and wind energy as two major sources of green energy with great potential.”

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