Saudi Arabia plans to spend over $100 billion in renewable energy projects to help meet its skyrocketing energy demand, experts said ahead of a major industry conference.
According to a recent report by Frost & Sullivan, the kingdom’s energy demand is expected to grow by 45% from 69 gigawatts (GW) in 2014 to 100 GW in 2040, an amount that is nearly as much as all of the rest of the GCC combined.
In anticipation, the kingdom plans to spend $109 billion to install 54GW of renewable energy by 2040, Frost & Sullivan said. By 2020, Saudi projects alone will account for 70% of the total value of the GCC’s renewable energy projects.
“With the Middle East’s renewable energy sector rapidly advancing, Saudi Arabia holds the region’s biggest potential for both solar and wind power,” said Roberto De Diego Arozamena, CEO of Abdul Latif Jameel Energy and Environmental Services.
“Renewable energy can help Saudi Arabia meet its growing energy demand, and also help diversify its economy, shift government energy subsidies, and provide jobs for the Saudi workforce,” he added, speaking ahead of the World Future Energy Summit (WFES) to be held next week in Abu Dhabi.
“Generally, for a successful renewable sector, governments need to implement holistic plans that boost both the innovation and manufacturing capacity to deliver practical, affordable, and competitive energy solutions,” he added.
Solar energy in particular is seeing the strongest take-up in Saudi Arabia, with the kingdom planning to install 41GW of solar power by 2040, according to the consultancy Arthur D Little.
To support solar power, Arthur D Little calls for easy financing of solar projects, strategic partnerships, deploying before manufacturing, and proactive energy policy reforms.