Apr 19, 2017 01:57 AM EDT
Saudi Arabia, a country known for its rich oil resources with the largest petroleum reserves at 18 percent, is looking at sourcing at least 10 percent of its energy from renewable sources six years from now. Saudi Arabia played a significant role in the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC). Almost all of its revenues come from petroleum exports. Instead of just exporting oil, the country also plans to export renewable energy.
During the Saudi Arabia Renewable Energy Investment Forum, Energy Minister Khaled al-Falih said the country has lined up 30 projects that could reach up to $50 billion. These will be implemented to achieve that goal of producing 10 gigawatts of renewable energy in the next decade, as per Phys.org, Saudi Arabia sources its domestic power from natural gas, crude, and refined oil but the government wanted to wean itself from its dependence on oil as part of its economic reform program. It is now investing in solar and wind power as part of its renewables program.
"The percentage of renewable energy by 2023 will represent 10 percent of the total electricity of the kingdom," Falih said. "We are seeking for the kingdom, in the medium term, to become a nation that develops, manufactures and exports the advanced technologies of renewable energy production," he said.
Saudi Arabia's ambitious renewable energy program is set to kick off in the next few weeks as the bids solicitation starts, according to Bloomberg. Abdul Latif Jameel Energy Chief Executive Roberto de Diego Arozamena said the company plans to bid for the project. The first tender to cost $700 million eyes 300 megawatts of solar energy and 400 megawatts of wind energy.
The price of oil has settled at $50 per barrel in the past years. This has magnified Saudi Arabia's budget deficit and has urged the country's leaders to diversify its economy. Saudi Arabian Oil Co. issued a statement that indicated its renewable energy target of 3.45 gigawatts by 2020. This is, however, just the beginning because the country has greater plans for 2050.