Saudi Arabia hopes to export solar electricity to Europe

World

Saudi Arabia, which is planning massive investment in renewable energy, hopes to export solar electricity to Europe in winter, when cooler temperatures reduce the need for air conditioning in the kingdom. It would be viable for Saudi Arabia to export up to 10 gigawatts, the equivalent of 10 nuclear plants, via North Africa and Italy or Spain, Khalid Al Sulaiman, vice president for renewable energy at the King Abdullah City for Atomic and Renewable Energy told a conference in Paris. At the moment Saudi Arabia has only about 10 to 11 megawatts of capacity installed, but the kingdom has huge ambitions to build renewable and nuclear capacity as it tries to reduce domestic oil consumption, Sulaiman  said. The world’s top oil exporter said in February it aims to install 24GW of renewable power capacity by 2020 and 54GW by 2032. Sulaiman said the first solar tenders will be offered this year. He said studies show that the grid investment required to bring Saudi electricity to Europe would amount to between 15%-20% of the total investment required to install some 20GW renewable generation capacity. Transmission cables could go either via North Africa or via Turkey and Bulgaria, but the latter route is less advantageous because Bulgaria is a net exporter of electricity, he added.

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