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Mon 14 May 2012 07:11 PM

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Saudi eyes $107bn investment on electricity

Top oil exporter says it has revised up its estimates for power projects spend

Saudi eyes $107bn investment on electricity
Electricity pylon

Top oil exporter Saudi Arabia has revised up its estimates for the amount it will invest in power projects over the next decade to more than SR400bn ($106.6bn) from SR300bn, its deputy electricity minister said.

"Some time (ago) we announced 300 billion (riyals) and we increased it due to the latest developments especially in the housing sector and also the new infrastructure funded by the government," Saleh al-Awaji told Reuters at a water and power conference in Dammam in Saudi Arabia on Monday.

The chief executive of Saudi Electricity Co (SEC) told Reuters last year that the Gulf's largest utility may change its SR300bn ($80bn) 10-year investment plan as it speeds up delivery of its power projects to meet state infrastructure demands.

The funds would be used to boost capacity to at least 80,000 megawatts by 2020 from an installed capacity of 50,000 megawatts.

"We are experiencing a growth (in demand) of 8 percent in the last ten years and we are expecting to maintain almost the same level for the next ten years, no doubt that at the end of the decade we are expecting to reduce the demand due to the intensive efforts for improving efficiency."

Awaji added that in 2022, SEC needed to have an installed capacity of 120 gigawatt but that depends on whether growth rates remain the same.

Saudi Electricity's executive director for generation operations at SEC in the Eastern Region, Ayesh al-Shemari, said at the same conference that the power load is expected to reach 87,000 MW by 2021 while installed capacity is seen at 100,000 MW.

Last week, the body responsible for planning the Saudi energy mix said Saudi Arabia should install around 41 gigawatts of solar power over the next 20 years, more than any country has managed so far, as well as around 17 GW of nuclear capacity. The oil producer wants a more diversified energy mix to cut heavy domestic consumption.

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