Saudi Arabia is looking to continue to ensure their promises of bolstering the Gulf Kingdom’s alternative energy is maintained. This month, Masdar CEO Sultan Ahmed al-Jaber said publicly that his United Arab Emirates-based company is discussing potential investments in Saudi, and will likely be focusing on solar energy.
For Masdar, which has boosted its clean energy profile in Abu Dhabi and across the Emirates with clean technology proving both plausible and profitable, the goal is to take solar power a step further into Saudi, with its vast desert and massive amount of sun.While not giving much away in his statement, he did say Masdar hopes to jumpstart clean technology and energy in the Gulf Kingdom.
“We will proactively seek true partnerships in Saudi Arabia,” he was quoted by Construction Week Online as saying.
“We have achieved our objective of becoming a catalyst that will help change the mindset and extended our energy reach into sophisticated fields,” he said.
One thing going for Jaber, he said, was Masdar’s ability to learn from its mistakes and taking those errors into new investments in Saudi.
“We have a first-mover advantage. We have lessons learned. Why would we allow our partners in Saudi Arabia – or anywhere else, whether it is Egypt, Jordan or Morocco – to commit the same mistakes we did?”
In May, the Saudi government made good on their promise to push clean technology, announcing it wanted to bring in investment of around $109 billion for the creation of its solar industry and hopes that by 2032, one-third of the country’s energy will be solar.
Saudi’s solar, wind and geothermal
The government said it hopes to create 41,000 megawatts of solar capacity over the next two decades. And solar is not the only clean energy they are looking at, with wind and geothermal also expected to contribute 21,000 megawatts.
But despite the ambitious goals of developing solar energy in the country, Saudi Arabia faces a small issue of profitability. While Masdar said it can deliver on making the sector see large profits, economists in the country question whether clean energy will be a viable enough investment in the near future to make these goals a reality.
Jamal Aziz Abdallah of the National Industrial Clusters Development Program (NICDP) told Green Prophet that with enough interest and development in solar and other clean energy development, “companies will quickly find our market viable.”
He pointed to First Solar and SunPower alongside Masdar as being key to increasing interest in making the government’s push possible.
“The future of clean energy in the Kingdom will largely depend on how the government responds to queries and bids,” he continued. “If they allow for job creation and other aspects of clean energy along with investment, then I see no reason why it won’t boost the economy in general.”
Image of Saudi Arabia sun from Shutterstock