09.05.2012
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Energy policy

Saudi Arabia announces RE targets

Yesterday, Saudi Arabia announced specific targets for solar and wind. By 2032, the country aims to get nearly a quarter of its electricity from photovoltaics and concentrating solar power alone, but the country will be expanding nuclear even faster.

 - What Saudi Arabia's power supply is to look like in 2032 over the course of a year. Don't overlook the blue line at the bottom, which is mostly nuclear power.
What Saudi Arabia's power supply is to look like in 2032 over the course of a year. Don't overlook the blue line at the bottom, which is mostly nuclear power.
Source: KA-CARE

At the Saudi Solar Energy Forum, the King Abdullah City for Atomic and Renewable Energy (KA-CARE), has announced a target of 41 gigawatts of solar by 2030. More specifically, 16 gigawatts of photovoltaics is to go up along with 25 gigawatts of concentrated solar power (CSP). The split is perhaps surprising because photovoltaics has become considerably less expensive than CSP, but it is possible to combine CSP with fossil-fired thermal plants to ensure a dispatchable power production, which is the reason for this particular spread. The target for wind power is nine gigawatts.

To start with, there will be two rounds of bidding, followed by the implementation of feed-in tariffs that will apparently also include stipulations for local content, according to consulting firm Apricum. The two rounds of bidding will be for 4.7 gigawatts of solar power projects of at least five megawatts in size. In Q1 2013, 1.1 gigawatts of PV is in the offing along with 0.9 gigawatts of CSP, followed by 1.3 gigawatts of PV and 1.2 gigawatts of CSP in Q3 2014. The plan is still subject to approval, but Apricum says governmental consent is likely.

The target for geothermal and waste-to-energy is four gigawatts for 2032, and KA-CARE also announced a target of 17 gigawatts of nuclear power by 2032. In terms of gigawatt-hours, Saudi Arabia will therefore be expanding nuclear energy far faster than renewable power since nuclear plants can be expected to run at around 90 percent capacity, whereas the capacity of wind and PV will be closer to 25 percent even under fairly good conditions. On the other hand, CSP can produce significantly more kilowatt-hours per installed kilowatt. In other words, 17 gigawatts of nuclear will produce about as many kilowatt-hours as 80 gigawatts of wind and PV, though "only" 45 gigawatts of wind and solar (PV and CSP) are planned. The result is likely to be a larger share of nuclear power over the year than renewable power. (Craig Morris)

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2 Comments on "Saudi Arabia announces RE targets "

  1. Local - 16.12.2012, 11:57 Uhr (Report comment)

    I tend to agree with reader 1. Typical Saudi incompetence.

  2. Reader - 10.05.2012, 10:42 Uhr (Report comment)

    The reason for the spread between CSP and PV is that these guys don't know what they are doing.

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