Saudi energy minister reveals Kingdom’s ambitious electricity plans
Energy minister calls for R&D on petrochemicals, renewables
RIYADH: Minister of Energy, Industry and Mineral Resources Khalid Al-Falih says that Saudi Arabia plans to supply electricity to Ethiopia through its privatization programs.
During his inauguration of the Saudi Electricity Forum at the Faisaliah Hotel in Riyadh on Tuesday, Al-Falih explained that the Kingdom plans to supply electricity to Ethiopia through its grid in Egypt some time in the next three years. He added that, through its planned grid in Turkey, the Kingdom would also have the opportunity to supply power to European countries in the future.
Power grids in Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries have been interconnected since 2011, Al-Falih pointed out. The Gulf Cooperation Council Countries Interconnection Grid (GCCIG) has a total capacity of 1,200 megawatts (MW) and links Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Kuwait, Bahrain, Qatar and Oman.
Saudi’s interconnection with Egypt will generate 3,000 megawatts in 2020, Al-Falih claimed.
He also confirmed that the Kingdom will use atomic energy to generate electricity for the first time in a bid to boost the national economy and to ensure a competitive energy sector.
Addressing the forum later, Maher bin Abdullah Al-Odan, CEO of the Atomic Energy Sector of the King Abdullah City for Atomic and Renewable Energy (KA-CARE), said work is already underway to identify suitable sites for two nuclear reactors in the Kingdom to generate between 2,500 and 3,000 MW.
The setting-up of the reactors falls within the framework of a memorandum of understanding between the Korea Atomic Energy Research Institute (KAERI) and KA-CARE. Al-Odan revealed that 40 Saudi engineers will be sent to Korea for relevant training.
In a further boost for Saudi Arabia’s energy sector, Italian technical consulting and engineering company CESI SpA and GCC Electrical Testing Laboratory (GCC Lab) signed a term sheet for the development and operation of a state-of-the-art electrical testing facility in the Kingdom.
GCC Lab CEO Saleh Al-Amri called the partnership a “significant step in the line with Saudi Vision 2030.”
He added that it would “contribute significantly toward … enhancing energy efficiency.”
Topics to be discussed at the three-day forum include Policies and Plans for the Electricity Sector; Investment Opportunities and Localization of Industries and Technologies; Electricity System Efficiency; Development of Electricity Market and Electricity Interconnection; Electricity Sector Privatization; and Atomic and Renewable Energy.