Is Saudi Arabia moving from oil to renewable energy?
Published: 21 Mar 2016
Saudi Arabia is exploring options to shift away from the oil and gas industry as their main source of energy.
Oil minister Ali Al-Nami recently announced at a Berlin conference that Riiyadh is focusing more on renewable energy sources such as solar in preparation of a post-oil global economy. However, the minister estimated that the world will rely on fossil fuel for at least another 50 years.
"I don’t think there is a more ideal country for renewables than Saudi Arabia," given its abundant sunshine, available land and plentiful sand, which is needed for making solar panels, Al-Naimi was quoted as saying by Bloomberg.
It’s not the first time that the world’s largest crude exporter has expressed interest in finding an alternative to oil. During a climate summit in Paris last May, the minister said Saudi Arabia wants to "be exporting gigawatts of electric power" produced with solar panels.
In January, Deputy Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman announced proposals to sell a stake in some assets of state-owned oil company Saudi Arabia Oil Co. The news sparked speculations that following the slump in global oil prices Riyadh has intensified plans to diversify its economy, according to Bloomberg.
The country aims to install 54 gigawatts of clean energy capacity by 2040, according to Bloomberg New Energy Finance. Renewable energy currently accounts for about 14 percent of global consumption and will increase to 19 percent by 2040, according to the International Energy Agency.