Prince Alwaleed bin Talal of Saudi Arabia urges investment in solar power to feed local electricity demands and cut kingdom´s dependence on oil.
CSP Today speaks with Michelle Davies, head of Clean Energy and Sustainability Group at Eversheds, on doing solar business in the Middle East.
King Abdullah´s nephew, Prince Alwaleed bin Talal, expressed his concern over Saudi Arabia´s reliance on oil in a letter to oil minister Ali Al-Naime. The prince urged investment in both nuclear and solar energy to meet the local electricity consumption.
According to the Emirates Solar Industry Association, Saudi Arabia´s domestic oil consumption will exceed exports by 2026. Therefore, the need for alternative energy sources is imperative.
Prince Alwaleed bin Talal´s statements are in line with the King Adbullah City for Atomic and Renewable Energy 41GW renewable energy plan, in which CSP has been allocated 25GW by 2032. Despite no current CSP activity in the country yet, this announcement has turned Saudi Arabia into the most ambitious CSP player in the world. The country presents great opportunities having a technical solar potential estimated at 125,000 TWh a year, and being irradiation levels twice the European average at 2,200 kWh/m2 a year.
CSP Today interviewed Michelle Davies, Head of Clean and Sustainability Group at Eversheds, who explained that CSP developers will have to establish local partnerships to successfully win bids for projects in the Middle East.
“It is quite difficult to establish yourself in the Middle East and set up a business on your own, you really do need the support of a partner who understands the country, understands the regulation, and has the right connections and experience” Davies commented.
This November, Davies will present on the solar opportunities in Saudi Arabia at CSP Today Sevilla 2013 this November. The conference will also be attended by regional decision-makers such as Yara Anabtawi, Director of Business Development Renewables at ACWA Power, and Dr. Ibrahim Altisan, General Manager of the Saudi Saline Water Conversion Corporation, who will present on both solar and water needs in the kingdom.
A delegation from Jordan formed by the National Energy Research Centre, the Electricity Regulation Commission and the International Finance Corporation, will also be present at the conference to showcase the solar opportunities in their country.