Wednesday, April 13, 2016

Call for Saudis to Be a Solar Power

A Floated Aramco Would Dwarf Supermajors (Credit: Click to Enlarge.
The announcement by Deputy Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman of Saudi Arabia sent tremors through global energy markets.

He said that the desert kingdom – the world’s biggest oil exporter – would, within 20 years, no longer be dependent on oil revenues and plans to use an estimated US$2 trillion in assets to diversify the country’s economy and invest in companies and projects around the globe.

Great news, say the renewable energy specialists.  Now is the time for Saudi Arabia – for years, one of the countries most opposed to any serious global action on tackling climate change – to use its massive financial resources to invest in renewable energy, and in particular solar.

“In 2016, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia has a major opportunity to develop a new industry,” says Jeremy Leggett, a leading solar specialist, in an article written for Saudi’s national finance daily, Al Eqtissadaih.

Global prices
Not only have has Saudi Arabia been hit by recent declines in global oil prices, which account for more than 90% of government revenues, it is also consuming more and more of its own oil reserves to generate power.

Leggett, founder of the independent solar energy company Solarcentury, points out that there has been what he calls an “astonishing” cost reduction in solar power in recent years – with the cost of the average solar power plant falling more than 80% since 2008.

He says: “The opportunity is for Saudi Arabia, with its fuel resource – the sun – and its capital from its oil revenues, to become a major player in the new global solar industry: a hub in what is likely to become the biggest industry in the world a few decades from now.”

Whether or not there is the political will within the tightly-knit and secretive Saudi ruling circle to invest in a solar future is the big question.

Read more at Call for Saudis to Be a Solar Power

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