It seems Saudi Arabia is looking for a larger revenue from oil sales as they will speed up their solar power generation to free up more oil to sell. They are expected to generate 500 megawatts in the first quarter with more to come in the future, according to Paddy Padmanathan, chief executive officer of Acwa Power International in Riyadh.
The country is world’s leading exporter of unprocessed oil as they also burn more for electricity than anyone else in the world. According to the latest studies from International Energy Agency, Saudi Arabia goes through 900,000 barrels a day which produce 16 billion dollars a year. The solar power integration into their grid could free up more oil for export.
Their plan is to generate an addition of 700 more megawatts from the wind and solar sources by 2018 and another 8,8 gigawatts between 2019 and 2023.
“We expect Saudi Arabia will be the largest market in the region in the medium to long term,” according to Sami Khoreibi, founder and CEO of Enviromena Power Systems, a company that develops solar power systems in Abu Dhabi. “You take a look at the opportunity cost using crude oil for electricity production and you have a very high operating expense, and the power demand growth in Saudi Arabia is one of the largest in the region.”
Their pursuit of solar energy development is showing signs of progress as the kingdom is looking to establish their tactics for future economic diversification.