Spotlight Activity: Saudi Arabia Strengthens Its Intention to Increase Domestic Renewable Energy Supply
Saudi Arabia has recently stressed the need for a balanced strategy of improving the quality of fossil fuel to reducing greenhouse gas emissions while expanding its renewable energy program. Saudi Energy Minister Khalid al-Falih told a clean energy conference that was held on January 14-17, 2019 in Abu Dhabi that a gradual transition to renewables will factor in the continued growth of the global demand for oil and avoid risks.
He signaled the Kingdom’s intention to increase domestic renewable energy supply from 9.5 GW to about 60 GW by 2030. He also unveiled new plans for renewable energy production this year that would include a 400-megawatt wind farm, a 300-megawatt solar plant, tendering dozens of renewable energy projects with 12 slated for 2019 as well as a nuclear reactor that will produce between 2-3 GW in the next decade.
Status: Moving Ahead
Saudi Arabia’s change in policy towards generating 60 GW of renewable energy by 2030, rather than the original 9.5 GW, is a very encouraging sign that Saudi Arabia will continue to embrace its transition towards renewable energy, despite its recent denial of scientists’ warnings about climate change at the UN conference in Poland last year.
This is also one of the first times that Saudi Arabia has come out to declare that it is transitioning towards renewable energy not simply to “diversify its economy”, but to reduce global carbon emissions. There is no doubt that Saudi Arabia is still concerned that transitioning to renewable energy will hurt its economy, as is seen in its statement about a “fair and gradual global energy transition” towards renewable energy, although it has shown that they see this transition as inevitable now.
To the Minister of Energy, Industry, and Mineral Resources:
Saudi Arabia’s increase in its commitment to producing renewable energy is a move in the right direction. We agree that the transition towards renewable energy should be a fair and gradual one, especially for countries such as Saudi Arabia, who rely heavily on oil exports to sustain their economy. We encourage Saudi Arabia to increase its goal even further so that at least a majority of its energy needs is satisfied by renewable energy.
We know that Saudi Arabia has the capital and resources to make a serious push towards renewable energy and reducing carbon emissions if it makes that its primary goal. Despite many ambitious renewable energy projects implemented in the last year, Saudi Arabia has not started to produce any renewable energy yet. Environmental leaders across industries should inquire with the Minister of Energy about providing live data regarding how much renewable energy Saudi Arabia is producing day-to-day, so that the progress the country is making may be tracked.
Send Action Alert Message to:
Khalid A. Al-Falih
Minister of Energy, Industry, and Mineral Resources
For further information contact Climate Scorecard’s Saudi Arabia Partner Organization OR Climate Scorecard Country Managers for Saudi Arabia, Abeer Abdulkareem firstname.lastname@example.org and Amgad Ellaboudy email@example.com