Supreme Council of KA-Care disbanded

02 February 2015

King Salman disbands alternative energy body supreme council as it fails to deliver on ambitious pledges

The Supreme Council of the King Abdullah City for Atomic and Renewable Energy (KA-Care) has been disbanded as part of a government reshuffle by Saudi Arabia’s King Salman bin Abdulaziz al-Saud.

The reshuffle, took place a week after King Salman was appointed, resulted in 12 supreme councils being cancelled, including KA-Care, which was established by King Salman’s predecessor, King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz al-Saud, in 2010 to oversee the country’s renewable and atomic energy programme.

The move leaves the role that KA-Care will play in the development of renewable and nuclear energy in the kingdom unclear.

The body has come under much criticism in the past year over the stalled progress of its significant renewable and nuclear energy programmes. After setting ambitious targets for implementing 54GW of renewable energy and 17GW of nuclear power by 2032, very little progress has been made.

In February 2013, KA-Care launched a white paper detailing targets for the procurement strategy for the construction of the initial phases of the 54GW scheme, the KA-Care white paper was widely regarded as an important first step towards implementing the ambitious programme.

Since then, progress has stalled, with no further news on the progress or procurement of KA-Care’s projects having been released since it invited feedback on the white paper 15 months ago.

It has also fallen silent on plans to develop the ambitious civilian nuclear power programme, which was targeting building up to 16 reactors to provide upwards of 17,000MW of power by 2032. In September 2012, KA-Care appointed a group of advisers to work on plans for the programme. However, while an initial study was completed, there has been no further progress with the plans.

While the step to disband the supreme council has raised some suspicions within the region’s power sector that it is the first step to shelving what has been a largely ineffective organisation, others believe the reshuffle might be just what the body needs to begin to finally make some progress.

“It is still too early to know what will happen,” says a source at a major international player in the region’s power and water sector. “But maybe a change at the top [of KA-Care], and a new structure will get things rolling. Saudi Arabia is the market we are all waiting for, so hopefully we will now see some progress.”

Follow Andrew Roscoe on Twitter: @MEEDAndrew

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