Official tells Saudi-US forum that kingdom is keen to develop alternative energy options
Saudi Arabia will spend more than $100bn to build 16 nuclear energy plants over the next few years, a senior official has told a Saudi-US business forum in Atlanta.
Abdullah Zainal Alireza, Commerce and Industry Minister, also said the kingdom was keen to develop solar and other renewable energy technologies to reduce dependence on oil and gas, Saudi daily Arab News reported on Friday.
"We have allocated $3bn to produce solar energy panels in Jubail and Yanbu," he was quoted as saying.
Last month, Saudi Arabia said it will begin the tendering process to construct the first nuclear station by the end of next year. The site of the reactor will be announced by March.
Saudi Arabia and the UAE are investing in nuclear power to help meet rising domestic demand for electricity.
The forum also discussed new investment opportunities worth $385bn in the kingdom in the key sectors of education, energy, electricity and water, transport and logistics, petrochemicals and infrastructure, the paper added.
Alireza said Saudi imports from the US are expected to cross $95bn or 23 percent of the total US exports to Arab countries by 2012.
"This amount is expected to double by 2015," the minister said.