Saudis to launch $30bn renewable energy programme within weeks

Saudi Arabia is getting ready to launch a 15-year, $30-50bn renewable energy program as it prepares for the post-oil era, its Energy, Industry and Mineral Recourses Minister Khalid Al-Falih announced this week. Speaking at the the World Future Energy Summit in Abu Dhabi, the Minister said that the first round of bidding for a series of projects able to produce up to 10GW of power would begin within weeks.
The announcement comes in the wake last year’s  launch of Vision 2030, Riyadh’s plan to reduce its reliance on oil and diversify its economy by moving toward sustainable sources rather than continuing to depend on fossil oil. This  includes  nuclear power,  with Al-Falih also confirming that the KSA was in the early stages of studying plans for the development of its first two commercial nuclear reactors with a combined capacity of 2.8GW. 
Riyadh’s motivation for the move towards renewable energy is driven more by commercial than environmental concerns, with the Kingdom currently burning  about a quarter of the oil they produce. The authorities have become increasingly alarmed about the rising rate of domestic consumption which has recently been growing at 7% a year – nearly three times the rate of population growth. According to  a 2011 report from the UK-based Chatham House think tank, this could result in Saudi Arabia becoming a net oil importer by 2038, an outcome that could critically undermine the country’s  economic and political stability.
The development non-fossil fuel industries  is consequently seen as a means of both protecting Saudi Arabia’s position as a leading global oil producer and of creating employment for its  increasingly well-educated population, more than half of whom are under the age of 25.

Source: arabnews