Going Green: How is Saudi Arabia Utilizing Renewables?

Launched in 2016, the Saudi Vision 2030 set a target of generating 9.5 gigawatts (GW) of green energy by 2030. After many revisions, however, it set a new target of 130GW of renewable power capacity by 2030.

Aiming to secure at least 50% of its electricity from renewables by 2030, Saudi Arabia has made substantial investments to develop diversified renewable energy sources in order to meet its targets of cutting carbon emissions and promoting sustainable development, according to Arab News.

New Projects

Recognizing the need to raise public awareness and understanding of renewable energy technologies, and to promote Vision 2030 objectives, the King Abdullah City for Atomic and Renewable Energy launched the Mishkat Interactive Center for Atomic and Renewable Energy in Riyadh in 2017.

In this light, Reham Aldous, the center’s content and program development manager, told Arab News: “The National Renewable Energy Program, with all its achieved and under-construction projects, really reflects how promising this strategic initiative is to fulfill Vision 2030.”

Renewable energy sources, including wind, biofuels, geothermal, and thermal solar energy, depend on kinetic energy produced by these resources to power turbines, whether directly or by heating water to create steam, and thereby generating electricity.

Wind Energy

Going Green: How is Saudi Arabia Utilizing Renewables?
Wind farm

Saudi Arabia enjoys enormous wind energy potential, particularly in the northwestern and coastal regions. Therefore, it has set a target of producing 50GW of wind energy capacity by 2030.

In 2021, the Kingdom inaugurated Dumat Al-Jandal project, its first wind farm and the largest in the Middle East, with 400 megawatts (MW) installed capacity. Furthermore, additional large-scale wind farm projects are underway.

Solar Energy

Going Green: How is Saudi Arabia Utilizing Renewables?
Solar plant

Owing to its sunny weather, Saudi Arabia enjoys an abundance of solar energy resources. Hence, the Kingdom targets 50GW of installed solar energy capacity by 2030.

Saudi major projects in that regard include Sakaka solar plant with 300MW production capacity; Sudair solar park, with production capacity of 420MW; and the planned Al-Shuaibah solar project with 2GW production capacity.

The Kingdom is also considering the introduction of innovative applications, such as floating solar farms on its reservoirs, as part of its green transformation.


How is Saudi Arabia Utilizing Renewables?
Hydroelectric facility

Due to the lack of moving bodies of water, Saudi Arabia’s hydropower potential is limited. However, the Kingdom has a number of small-scale hydroelectric facilities.

One of these projects is the Baisha Dam in the southwest. It generates about 2.1MW of power. The Kingdom is also exploring the potential for pumped storage hydropower projects.

Geothermal Energy

Going Green: How is Saudi Arabia Utilizing Renewables?
Geothermal power plant

Given the volcanic areas in regions such as the Hijaz and Aseer mountains, the Kingdom has started to explore its geothermal energy resources.

Saudi Arabia is carrying out pilot projects to assess the possibility of generating geothermal power in the Kingdom. According to early estimates, the Kingdom has a potential of up to 3GW of geothermal energy capacity.


How is Saudi Arabia Utilizing Renewables?
Bioenergy plant

Saudi Arabia has made great progress in developing the bioenergy sector, with a special focus on biofuels.

The Kingdom’s target is to produce 9.5 million liters of bioethanol and 0.3 million liters of biodiesel annually by 2030. Moreover, the country is exploring agricultural and waste-to-energy projects.

Dedicated Efforts

The Saudi Ministry of Energy has been the spearhead of the Kingdom’s renewable energy transformation. For this purpose, it has embarked on a number of green energy initiatives. These include setting clean energy targets, launching competitive bidding for projects, and partnering with local and international stakeholders to build a strong renewable energy sector.

The Ministry of Energy has utilized strategic policies, dedicated funding, and collaborative efforts to establish Saudi Arabia’s position as a regional leader in the global transformation towards sustainable power generation.

Key to Success

Much of the Kingdom’s success is a result of Saudi Arabia’s geography, according to Reham Aldous of the Mishkat Interactive Center.

She said: “The Kingdom is characterized by an abundance of renewable energy resources, highlighting solar energy and wind energy as the main two green energy resources with great potential.”

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