Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Saudi Arabia Going Solar: Oil Won’t Last Forever


Saudi Arabia is going solar. What for? Who needs solar when the country is the world’s largest oil producer? They can have all the fuel they need. They hold one fifth of the global oil reserves. What could motivate Saudi Arabia to look at solar’s way?

Saudi Arabia’s demand for petroleum products - demand for energy - is rising at a high and very alarming rate,” Khalid Al Sulaiman, vice president for renewable energy at King Abdullah City for Atomic and Renewable Energy, said in a speech at the Saudi Solar Forum. “Population growth and robust economic development and many reasons drive that demand.” The country currently gets almost all of its energy from fossil fuels, he said.

Saudi Arabia already burns some 800,000 barrels a day of oil to meet domestic demand. The country expects local power demand to triple over the next two decades and wants to develop more sustainable sources of energy. This looks like the main reason why the country is looking for alternative power source. They found that solar is the most logical choice.

“Moving into renewables for Saudi Arabia is a necessity not a luxury,” John Sfakianakis of Banque Saudi Fransi, said in Riyadh. “Saudi Arabia has oil and the more it uses domestically going forward the less it will have to export for a growing population.” This seems to be the tone of solar experts in the country – have all the oil available for export and search for alternative power source for domestic use.

Saleh Al-Awaji, Saudi Arabia’s deputy minister for electrical power at the Ministry of Water has this rejoinder when he said: “Fuel supply is among the key challenges facing the power sector along with the nation. The policy would be to operate intensely on saving energy and ensuring just about every barrel of oil that can be saved is, and is created readily available for export.”

Saudi Arabia needs the dollars it can generate from export of oil. King Abdullah ordered $103 billion in additional benefits for its citizens, economist John Sfakianakis of Banque Saudi Fransi said last week. The government hopes the increased spending will help prevent unrest sweeping the Middle East from spreading to the kingdom.

The nation sees solar power and other sources as vital for boosting generating capacity by 50 percent in this decade, Abdullah al-Shehri, governor of the Electricity and Co-Generation Regulatory Authority, said in Abu Dhabi on March 28. This will reduce by half the crude and natural gas it burns to generate electricity.

This is the underlying reason why Saudi Arabia is focused on solar – use solar energy for domestic use and sell every drop of oil they produce. For countries hungry for oil, this is a welcome development – more supply is available.


We invite you to visit ourInformative Solar Article page for more practical tips, simplified application guide and established solar benefits.


Author’s Box
Jacinto Demonteverde, Jr., the owner, is a strong advocate of solar power adoption. He writes practical articles to keep established and prospective solar users well informed. Visit him at: http://www.justsolarhome.blogspot.com. You are welcome to republish or reprint this article free of charge provided the content remains unchanged including the Author’s Box. No permission is needed.

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