Saudi Arabia’s Electricity Ministry is assessing the potential for selling off excess power to European countries during the winter months.

Speaking at MEED’s Arabian Power & Water Summit 2011, Saudi Arabia’s deputy minister for electricity, Dr Saleh Alawji, said preliminary results of a feasibility study on the sale of electricity to Europe are positive. Power demand peaks during the hot summer and drops in winter in Saudi Arabia, leaving the kingdom with excess capacity during the colder months. In Europe the reverse is true.

However, Alawji said the idea still needs to overcome potential technical, legal and political hurdles. “There are lots of things that need to be investigated,” he added.

A major issue will be transmitting power over such distances. The cost of installing such transmission capacity along with the transmission losses may be high. “We have to think of the route for the transmission line and which places it will cut through,” said Alawji.

The amount of power that could be sold to Europe is unclear, but “it would be a large-scale transmission”, said Alawji.

Alawji indicated that there is also interest among other GCC nations to export power, using the GCC interconnected power network currently being implemented.