Saudi eyes clean energy to cut oil demand, official says

Kingdom seeks mix of sources as power demand looks set to triple over by 2030
Saudi eyes clean energy to cut oil demand, official says
Saudi Arabia is home to 20 percent of the worlds oil reserves
By Bloomberg
Sun 03 Apr 2011 06:06 PM

Saudi
Arabia, with 20 percent of world oil reserves, aims to develop renewable energy
and nuclear power to cut by half the crude and natural gas it burns to generate
electricity, a government official said.

The
country is seeking to develop a more sustainable mix of energy supply as growth
in power demand is set to triple over the next two decades, Khalid Al Sulaiman,
vice president for Renewable Energy at King Abdullah City for Atomic and
Renewable Energy, said at a conference in Riyadh Sunday.

Saudi
Arabia’s energy mix is made up almost exclusively of fossil fuels now, Al
Sulaiman said in a speech at the Saudi Solar Forum. Energy that’s not derived
from fossil fuels such as oil and gas will make up more than half of the
kingdom’s supply mix by 2030, he said. That mix will include solar and wind
power and nuclear plants, he said.

Persian
Gulf oil producers need to generate more electricity to meet demand that’s
growing an average of 10 percent a year, Jarmo Kotilaine, chief economist at
National Commercial Bank in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, said March 29.

Countries
in the region are also seeking new ways to generate power because they prefer
exporting crude to maximize income and allocating natural gas to make
petrochemicals.

Saudi
Arabia, the largest producer in OPEC, uses crude and refined products as fuel
for power stations because it doesn’t have enough gas to generate all the power
it needs and also supply industry. Liquid fuels generate about half of the
country’s power now, with the rest coming from gas, according to the state-run
utility Saudi Electricity Co. (SECO)

The
country’s generating capacity is about 45,000 megawatts with peak power demand
also reaching that level, according to Saudi Electricity.

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