At the World Economic Forum in Davos, Saudi Energy Minister Khalid Al-Falih announced the Kingdom’s intention to become a major exporter of renewable energy, especially to Europe.
“If the region gets connected to Europe for example, then solar (power) that is produced in Saudi Arabia can be exported all the way to Europe through a network,” he told Arab News on the sidelines of Davos. “When it’s sunny in the region, it’s dark and cloudy sometimes in Europe… So we can be a major exporter.”
Al-Falih said on Monday that Saudi Arabia is to launch a renewable energy program that is expected to involve investment of between $30 billion and $50 billion by 2023. Riyadh plans to start the first round of bidding for projects under the program, which would produce 10 gigawatts of power.
Davos Showcases Saudi Commitment to Renewable Energy
A commitment to renewable energy, especially wind and solar power, is a cornerstone of plans for Vision 2030. To build up the sector, the Kingdom has set an initial target of generating 9.5 gigawatts of renewable energy. Saudi Arabia will also localize a significant portion of the renewable energy value chain in the Saudi economy, including research and development, and manufacturing, among other stages.
In June 2017, while addressing the 21st St. Petersburg International Economic Forum, Khalid Al-Falih urged attendees to invest in research and development of renewable energy and petrochemicals. Al-Falih stressed the central role new technologies play in advancing the diversification of energy sources and minimizing risks to the global climate. The Minister said that OPEC and non-OPEC members in the recent oil production reduction agreement will study the possibility of increase reduction rates at the meeting scheduled for November. In his remarks, he ruled out the possibility that the global demand for oil will peak before 2050.