We hope that OPEC oil countries will continue putting the west to shame: A few days ago on October 1, Saudi Arabia inaugurated its first solar power plant as the country continues to diversify its energy sources. The 500-kilowatt plant, located on the beautiful Farasan Island will save the equivalent of transferring 28,000 barrels of diesel fuel to the island annually reports the Saudi Embassy in the United States. Farasan Island is the biggest of the Farasan Islands and the new plant will save the government from shipping diesel fuel to the island.
Constructed by the Saudi Electricity Company and Showa Shell Sekiyu K.K., a Japanese energy company partly owned by the Saudi Arabian Oil Company, this new solar plant one of the many initiatives led by the Saudi Electric Company introduce clean energy throughout the Kingdom.
There was no mention of turtles or other conservationists however crying foul, probably due to the very nascent environment movement in Saudi Arabia.
Saudi Ambassador to the United States Adel bin Ahmed Al-Jubeir says: “Saudi Arabia is committed to building and refining alternative energy solutions. This program is one large step that will benefit the environment and the Saudi people.”
Saudi Arabia, largely referred to as “The Kingdom” by Saudis, is a prime location to harness solar energy because of its year-round sunshine. According to the Embassy reports, the sun in Saudi Arabia emits about 7,000 watts of energy per square meter over an average of 12 hours every day.
The plant has been linked with Jizan area’s main distribution network, which annually produces about 864,000 kilowatt hours. The Japanese firm will own it for 15 years and after which they will transfer it back to the Saudi Electricity Company.
Farasan Island (Arabic: جزيرة فرسان; transliterated: Jazyrat Farasan) is the largest island of the Farasan Islands, in the Red Sea. It is located some 50 km offshore from Jizan, the far southwestern part of Saudi Arabia. The islands form an archipelago of 84 islands.
In February 2010, the Saudi government, in coordination with the future-forward King Abdulaziz City for Science and Technology (KAUST), began building the first solar-powered water desalination plant.
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