Saudi Arabia scales down renewables

19 March 2015

Renewables industry lowers expectations as SEC takes lead

  • Saudi Electricity Company expected to take over renewables projects
  • Revival of 54GW KA-Care programme considered unlikely
  • Capacity of renewables projects executed will be several hundred megawatts

Saudi Electricity Company (SEC) is to take responsibility for renewables projects in Saudi Arabia as the kingdom downsizes its plans for developing alternative sources of energy.

Sources in Saudi Arabia say SEC will carry out solar projects with a total capacity of between 100MW and 500MW in the medium term, while Saudi Aramco may continue its small solar programme.

The ambitious 54GW programme detailed by the King Abdullah Centre for Atomic and Renewable Energy (KA-Care) in 2013 stalled before the procurement process began. Round one of the programme included 2000MW of solar projects and 650MW of wind. KA-Care declined to comment on the status of its planned projects.

In January, Hashim Yamani, president of KA-Care, stated the goal of 54GW had been pushed back from 2032 to 2040.

But after years of waiting for the Saudi market to take off, the renewables industry no longer expects the KA-Care programme to be revived and is focusing on other countries.

King Salman bin Abdulaziz al-Saud disbanded the body’s Supreme Council when he reshuffled the Saudi government in early 2015.

It is unclear what the organisation’s future role will be, but the possibilities of a regulatory or research role have been suggested.

For nuclear projects, both SEC and KA-Care signed memorandums of understanding (MoUs) with South Korean nuclear entities on 3 March 2015.

SEC’s MoU with South Korea’s Korea Electric Power Corporation (Kepco) to study nuclear and renewable energy covers research and development, training, transmission and the development of projects over three years.

KA-Care signed an MoU with the South Korea’s Ministry of Science, ICT and Future Planning to cooperate on the development of small modular reactor technologies, nuclear human capacity building and academic research.

KA-Care was to develop a civilian nuclear power programme, with up to 16 reactors providing upwards of 17,000MW of power by 2032. However, after an initial study begun in 2012, plans have stalled.

Stay informed with the latest in the Middle East
Download the MEED app today, available on Apple and Android devices

A MEED Subscription...

Subscribe or upgrade your current package to support your strategic planning with the MENA region’s best source of business information. Proceed to our online shop below to find out more about the features in each package.

Get Notifications