Solar project in Saudi Arabia forecast to generate 7,000 jobs

Project seeks to increase use of renewable energy and build local manufacturing industry

Image Credit: Ahmed Ramzan/Gulf News
By harnessing renewable energy, Saudi Arabia hopes not just to cut domestic crude consumption but create jobs as well.

Dubai: A massive renewable energy programme in Saudi Arabia is expected to generate thousands of jobs.

The solar project seeks to harness renewable energy and build a local manufacturing industry that can boost the kingdom’s exports, and ultimately generate 7,000 employment opportunities by 2020, according to a Bloomberg report.

Saudi Arabia was earlier reported to require a $30 billion to $50 billion investment to materialise its renewable energy programme that seeks to cut local crude consumption in one of the world’s largest oil exporters.

Bidders have been invited to pitch for the construction of 3.45-gigawatt solar and wind plants by 2020. The Ministry of Energy and Natural Resources, however, is requiring bidders to spend 30 per cent of the capital through home-grown employees and companies.

“We want to create value. We don’t just want to bring in companies that open up manufacturing facilities at a very high premium, which the consumer will end up paying,” Turki al-Shehri, head of the renewable project development office in Saudi Arabia said.

“We want to ensure that whatever they are opening is competitive, that it can compete globally for exports.”

With the kingdom’s population growing annually, domestic demand for electricity has also been on the rise, prompting the government to find ways to diversify its energy mix. Currently, only a small portion (less than 1 per cent) of the country’s power supply is derived from renewable sources.

The renewable energy programme hopes to increase the share of renewables in the power mix to 4 per cent by generating 3.45 gigawatts of renewable energy by 2020, and an additional 9.5 gigawatts by 2023.

“[The programme] is a multifaceted renewable energy strategy designed to balance the domestic power mix in order to deliver long term economic stability and prosperity to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, while working towards carbon reduction commitments,” the government said on its website.

 

 

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