Saudis seek up to $50 billion for first phase of renewables plan

Saudi Arabia will start soliciting bids in the next few weeks for the first phase of a “massive” renewable-energy programme costing $30 billion to $50 billion, Energy Minister Khalid Al-Falih said. Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC’s) biggest producer plans to generate close to 10 gigawatts from renewables, primarily solar and wind power, by 2023, he said at an energy conference in Abu Dhabi. Saudi Arabia is also “really moving” to develop nuclear power and intends to build two reactors with a combined capacity of 2.8 gigawatts, Al-Falih said. The country is currently in the front-end engineering and design stage of its nuclear plants, he said. Saudi Arabia plans by 2030 to produce 70 per cent of its power from natural gas and 30 per cent from renewables and other sources, Al-Falih said Monday. He didn’t say how much renewables capacity the nation would be tendering in coming weeks, nor did he say when the nuclear plants would be operational. The kingdom is among crude exporters struggling with budget deficits after oil prices languished for two years at about $50 a barrel. Building more solar plants and developing a nuclear-power industry is part of a broader plan that Deputy Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman announced in April to diversify the economy away from crude sales as the main source of government revenue. (Anthony DiPaola/Bloomberg)

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