Saudi Arabia mulls renewable energy-based O&M system

Saudi Arabia mulls renewable energy-based O&M system
Published: 1 April 2018 - 1:27 a.m.
By: Utilities ME Staff

An operations and management (O&M) system based entirely on renewable energy – the world's first of its kind – is being mulled by Saudi Arabian business officials.

Claus Cleinfeld, chief executive officer of the kingdom's Neom megaproject, said that "the world's first management and operation system that depends 100% on renewable energy" was discussed during a meeting recently held in the US.

Saudi Arabia's Crown Prince, HRH Mohammad Bin Salman, met more than 40 international business leaders in New York last week.

The Red Sea megaproject's chief executive officer, John Pagano, said the meeting would pave the way for the development team to gain insights from international sustainability leaders and experts.

Meanwhile, Neom's Cleinfeld, said that during the meeting, attendees "reviewed a number of debating points on sustainability and [...] advanced manufacturing" methods.

According to Michael Renengers, who heads the Al-Gidya mega-development, the meeting saw the discussion of initiatives that had "encouraged [the team] to go ahead towards building the project, [which is] unique in the kingdom".

The officials said that the megaprojects would attract tourism investments into the kingdom, and secure Saudi's place in the global tourism sector, as well as boost the local economy, Saudi's state news agency, SPA, reported.

Renewable energy projects are rapidly gaining traction in the kingdom, which is also investing in large-scale master developments to meet the ambitions of its Vision 2030 mandate.

While in the US, the Saudi Arabian Crown Prince signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) to develop Solar Power Project 2030, the world's largest solar park, in the kingdom.

Saudi's Public Investment Fund (PIF) has teamed up with Japanese conglomerate, Softbank, to develop the project.

According to a Bloomberg report, cited by Arabian Business, the development is worth $200bn (SAR7.5bn).

The MoU is part of Saudi's endeavour to develop its solar energy sector, with a new company set to be established to focus on the industry.

Two solar plants with the capacity of 3 gigawatts (GW) and 4.2GW will be launched by 2019 as part of the agreement.

Renewable energy is also likely to be a key focus as part of Neom, the megacity that was unveiled by the Crown Prince at the Future Investment Initiative conference in Riyadh last October.

Contracts for palaces to be built as part of the $500bn (SAR1.9tn) Neom development have started to be awarded, it was reported this February.

The palaces for the king, crown prince, and other senior royals will be located on the Red Sea coast about 150km west of the city of Tabuk in the northwest of the country, according to Reuters.

The Saudi government has started awarding contracts for the business zone, with Saudi Binladin Group, the country's biggest construction firm, reportedly commissioned to build one of the palaces, the report stated.

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