Saudi’s Green Energy Drive to Boost Kingdom’s Employment

According to Saudi Arabia’s renewables chief, a huge investment ambition in green energy projects across the Kingdom is about creating jobs, along with diversifying the energy mix away from oil.

Two months ago the kingdom unveiled its aspiring plans to produce 200 gigawatts of solar power by 2030, in a move to help Saudi Arabia become a top exporter of sustainable energy.

The head of the Kingdom’s Renewable Energy Project Development Office, Turki Mohammed Al-Shehri in a special interview with Arab News at the time said that local content and jobs are part of the kingdom’s renewables program.

He also said in an interview in London that essential basis of these projects will be local content.

Al-Shehri went on to say that the idea is that the components and products used in these farms (panels, hoists, turbines and other parts) are taken in from local factories, and the notion is to organically grow the industry. He said that they also want local factories to also export out of the country, guaranteeing the creation of jobs, and this will make sure that everything that is built in Saudi Arabia will be on a competitive global basis.

In January, he told Bloomberg that 8 renewables tenders this year would be issued for a 4.125 gigawatts capacity costing between $5 billion to $7 billion.

When Al-Shehri was asked by Arab News if Saudi Arabia would also need foreign investment to develop the sector, he replied that due to the size of the projects, they need foreign investment knowhow and experience.

The Kingdom will free up oil reserves for export by building up wind and solar-power generation, strengthening the balance sheet of the country.

The Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman had also revealed plans to develop the biggest solar power project in the world for $200 billion in corporation with SoftBank of Japan.

The MOU aims to produce around 200 gigawatts of power by 2030, which is about a hundred times the capacity of the biggest projects currently.

Middle East oil producers are looking to renewables to meet rising domestic consumption so they could export as much oil as possible to generate income while also helping them meet internationally recognized green energy standards and at the same time reducing their reliance on fossil fuels.

The Kingdom wants to deploy more natural gas, as well as wind and solar, to reduce its power generation dependence on oil.


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