Saudi Arabia is well placed to play a key role in developing sustainable energy technologies which it has been exploring through scientific research, Maria Van der Hoeven, Executive Director of the International Energy Agency (IEA), told Oxford Business Group publishing, research and consultancy firm.
"Saudi Arabia holds a natural advantage in solar power, and experience elsewhere in the region suggests that the Kingdom could benefit from both photovoltaic systems and from developing larger concentrated solar power projects," she said. "The IEA is pleased with the collaboration we enjoy with Saudi Arabia, and impressed by the nation's dynamic plans for energy developments."
Saudi Arabia is seeking investors to back its $109 billion plan to create a solar sector capable of providing 30 percent of its electricity by 2032.
According to Maher Al-Odan, a consultant at the King Abdullah City for Atomic and Renewable Energy (Ka-care), the plan involves developing 41,000 megawatts of solar power within two decades. 25,000 MW will be from solar thermal plants, using huge heliostatic mirrors to reflect the sun's rays onto a central tower that heats a fluid to drives a turbine; and 16,000 MW will be in the form of photovoltaic panels.
Al-Odan said "we are not only looking for building solar plants. We want to run a sustainable solar energy sector that will become a driver for the domestic energy for years to come." Khalid Al-Suliman, vice president of Ka-care, said that an extra 21,000 megawatts of power will be added in the form of nuclear, wind, and geothermal.
SolarReserve LLC, a US maker of technology that uses sunlight for power, plans multiple bids for Saudi Arabia's first renewable-energy tender as the country plans to generate a third of its electricity from solar by 2032.
SolarReserve has formed a joint venture in Saudi Arabia and is working on preliminary proposals for the tender, Chief Executive Officer Kevin Smith said. Its technology uses thousands of mirrors to concentrate sunlight onto a central point to generate heat, which is then used to produce power. The energy can be stored in molten salt until electricity is needed. "We have put together proposals and project structures for the government and we expect to participate actively in the tenders," Smith said. "We will submit between one and three bids in different project structures and in different parts of the country."
Saudi Arabia plans to start its first tender targeting 2,000 megawatts of solar energy in early 2013. It plans a second tender in 2014 aiming for 2,500 megawatts.
The country in May said it's looking for investors to build a $109 billion solar industry by 2032.
The Saudi Gazette