Saudi Arabia stresses need for renewable energy

The Riyadh Economic Forum emphasized the importance of preparing a national strategy for localizing alternative and renewable energy.

The Riyadh Economic Forum emphasized the importance of preparing a national strategy for localizing alternative and renewable energy.

The Riyadh Economic Forum (REF) stressed the Saudi Arabia’s need to provide for alternative and renewable energy sources so as to meet the increasing energy needs that are met at increasing rates reaching 4.4 percent annually until 2035.

This would require 350 million tons of oil annually, Saudi Press Agency (SPA) said Wednesday. In order to sustain the Kingdom’s natural resource, the need to look out for alternative sources is imperative, the forum stressed.

The forum emphasized the importance of preparing a national strategy for localizing alternative and renewable energy, considering them to be a top priority in order to protect the Kingdom’s long-term energy security.

The REF also called for laying down an integrated road map to carry out the strategy according to priority, as well as, to encourage the private sector to participate in achieving it.

This was emphasized at the discussions on a study entitled: “The economies of alternative and renewable energy in the Kingdom – challenges and future horizons” during the session held on Wednesday. The session was moderated by Prince Dr. Turki Bin Saud, chairman of King Abdulaziz City for Science and Technology (KACST). This was the 7th session of REF being held at Riyadh International Conferences and Exhibitions Center in Riyadh.

Member of the team that supervised the preparation of the study Dr. Maher Abdullah Al-Owdan gave a presentation. Participants in the discussions included Saleh Bin Eid Al-Hussaini, chairman of the economic and energy committee in the Shoura Council and Prince Dr. Mamdouh Saud, director of the Center for Sustainable Energy Technologies at King Saud Univerisity and other experts.

The study warned against the growing rate of conventional energy consumption in the Kingdom that relies on oil, which represents 85 percent of export revenues. This leaves great pressure on the Kingdom’s export revenues.

Hence it necessitates moving towards achieving sustainability of the energy sector by resorting to developing the alternative and renewable energy sector.

The study estimated that a total of 10 – 17 Giga watts of alternative and renewable energy must be produced by 2025 in the Kingdom whose value is in the range of $4 – 12 billion. During the preliminary stage there will be need for financing in the range of $1 – 2.9 billion to produce 3 Giga watts of alternative and renewable energy by 2020. When the tempo of using this energy increases, the required financing between 2020 and 2025 will also increase to the range of $4 – 11.8 billion to ensure production of 17 Giga watts. The study drew attention to the existence of many challenges and obstacles in the market before alternative and renewable energy hindering the participation of the private sector. It suggested overcoming these obstacles.

As to the use of nuclear energy to produce power, the study called for formulating a nuclear responsibility regulation and establishing a commission for the management of nuclear waste in order to guarantee safe disposal.

Earlier, a study entitled: “Developing the information technology sector as a catalyst for development and transformation to knowledge-based economy” was discussed.

The study was reviewed in-depth by a host of specialists and those interested in IT sector and knowledge economy at the session, presided over by Dr. Mohammed Bin Suleiman Al-Jasser, the Advisor at the Royal Court. Minister of Communications and Information Technology Dr. Mohammed Al-Suwayel, was also present at the session. He called for the development of legal and legislative frameworks for IT activities in a way that enhances competitiveness and provides active performance of small and medium companies.


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