Saudi renewable energy projects in global spotlight

Saudi Arabia has a growing population with a steadily rising demand for energy as consumption increases by 7-10 percent each year, according to experts attending the high-profile event in Riyadh on “Empowering Saudi Arabia’s emerging renewable sector”.
They said 80 percent of the Kingdom’s GDP is dependent on oil revenues.
Although rich in oil, the Kingdom faces a real problem of supplies for exports running out as it continues to cater to high internal demands.
The event brought together experts from both local and global energy experts, including Michelle T. Davies, head of clean energy practice, Eversheds LLP, and Maher Alodan, director of research, development and innovation at the King Abdullah City for Atomic and Renewable Energy (KACARE)
In order to cope with the demands, KACARE has been tasked with developing plans to deploy nuclear power and renewable energy in the Kingdom.
KACARE recently drew up plans to develop 54 GW of renewable energy by 2032, potentially the biggest solar program of its kind.
The event was hosted by Global law firm, Eversheds , with the cooperation of various local and global firms, during which they discussed renewable energy projects in the Middle East in general and in Saudi Arabia in particular.
“The Middle East is currently an attractive market for global renewable energy funders and developers. The recent program outlined by Saudi Arabia, for example, is a 54GW renewable energy opportunity, one of the largest the world has ever seen,” said Davies.
The immense opportunity that the ME presents also throws up a whole host of challenges for the development of projects in the region, securing of capital and the development of renewable energy projects in Europe.
Jordan, on the other hand, is lacking in sufficient domestic fossil resources needed to secure its own energy independence — it is currently heavily reliant on imports through the Arab Gas Pipeline. Jordan’s renewable energy strategy will, therefore, not only help to reduce reliance on alternative sources of energy but also enable it to develop its own domestic renewable energy industry with demand for domestic workforce and expertise which will ensue.
Despite holding the seventh largest oil and gas reserve in the world, the UAE relies on imported gas for the production of its electricity and has a rising energy consumption of up to 10 percent each year.
This mix of drivers still provides the motivation to change the domestic energy mix. The two main emirates of Abu Dhabi and Dubai have their own energy strategy and their own renewable energy schemes.