RIYADH // Saudi Arabia, with 20 per cent of world oil reserves, aims to develop renewable energy and nuclear power to cut by half the crude and natural gas it burns to generate electricity, a government official said.
The country is seeking to develop a more sustainable mix of energy supply as growth in power demand is set to triple over the next two decades, Khalid Al Sulaiman, vice president for Renewable Energy at King Abdullah City for Atomic and Renewable Energy, said at a conference in Riyadh today.
Saudi Arabia's energy mix is made up almost exclusively of fossil fuels now, Al Sulaiman said in a speech at the Saudi Solar Forum. Energy that's not derived from fossil fuels such as oil and gas will make up more than half of the kingdom's supply mix by 2030, he said. That mix will include solar and wind power and nuclear plants, he said.
Gulf oil producers need to generate more electricity to meet demand that's growing an average of 10 per cent a year, Jarmo Kotilaine, chief economist at National Commercial Bank in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, said March 29. Countries in the region are also seeking new ways to generate power because they prefer exporting crude to maximise income and allocating natural gas to make petrochemicals.
Saudi Arabia, the largest producer in Opec, uses crude and refined products as fuel for power stations because it doesn't have enough gas to generate all the power it needs and also supply industry. Liquid fuels generate about half of the country's power now, with the rest coming from gas, according to the state-run utility Saudi Electricity.
The country's generating capacity is about 45,000 megawatts with peak power demand also reaching that level, according to Saudi Electricity.