Middle East Electricity 2019 Saudi kicks off with renewed optimism

Middle East Electricity 2019 Saudi kicks off with renewed optimism
Published: 20 November 2019 - 12:19 p.m.
By: Baset Asaba

The “Middle East Electricity Saudi 2019” kicked off Tuesday at the Riyadh International Convention & Exhibition Center, Riyadh showcasing the latest power technologies from leading regional and international suppliers.

Suppliers, innovators, experts, global thought leaders and service providers are gathered for the annual Middle East Electricity Saudi, which runs until Nov. 21 with the support of the King Abdullah City for Atomic and Renewable Energy (KACARE), SASO, Riyadh Chamber of Commerce and many others.

The global power industry spotlight is shining on Saudi Arabia as Riyadh plays host to a highly focused exhibition and conference poised to drive prospects for the Kingdom’s electricity sector over the coming decade.

Anticipation turned into potential as the global power community sought to understand and vie for a share of the multi-billion-dollar investment opportunities arising out of the sector’s transformation in the Kingdom, spurred by Saudi Arabia’s Vision 2030 plans to develop an integrated and diversified energy industry.

“While this is only the second event in the annual series, the level of interest is nothing short of phenomenal,” said Deep Karani, Exhibition Manager, Informa Markets, which organizes the event. “Attendees have come from many corners of the globe to identify the future direction of the Kingdom’s energy sector and what it could mean to their businesses. The stakes are high. Our research points to SR500 billion ($133 billion) worth of investment needed in the Kingdom, which the Saudi government is partly seeking through renewables – a sector poised for investment of more than 90 billion dollars. The Saudi market for solar alone is enormous, with a pipeline of more than 40 GW following the Kingdom’s 2030 Vision development plans.”

Given the heightened focus on renewables, Informa Markets has introduced Renewable Energy Arabia – a dedicated sector at Middle East Electricity Saudi 2019. The feature covers renewables, energy management and innovative storage solutions from local and international brands.

With renewables taking top billing alongside digitalization and energy diversification at the event’s high-level conference, an influential panel includes ministerial representatives from Jordan and Kuwait, sustainability experts from Europe, and public and private sector leaders from within Saudi’s own power industry.

Middle East Electricity Saudi takes place as Saudi Electricity Company (SEC) implements numerous power sector initiatives and investment opportunities to re-energize local manufacturers and suppliers and attract foreign companies and factories to transform the Kingdom into a regional electricity industry center. To enhance private sector contribution to the sector in line with the objectives of the National Transformation Program 2020, more than two thirds of Saudi’s electricity generation assets are due to be privatized. SEC Business Development Analyst Mohamad Azid Al-Malki will be speaking at the conference to discuss the company’s localization program.

A key point made by exhibitors such as Althelim Integrated Services Company is the need to foster a greater understanding of renewables among consumers. Carlos Reviero from the company’s Renewable Energy Business Development, said: “The landscape is changing but some of the emphasis of the need of this evolution must come from the policy makers and the decision makers of the projects. Understanding of the system needs to channel to the wider public.”

Others noted that the responsibility of steering the country’s renewable ambitions rested on leading companies in the sector. Arif Aga, Director at SgurrEnergy India Pvt. Ltd., said: “Prominent entities in the energy sector have an important responsibility to make this transition as smooth and seamless as possible. Consultants like us have made it our mission to support these efforts by making this transition sustainable, profitable and growth-focused.”

Ali Alghammas, Solar Sector Manager at Deem Solar, stressed the Kingdom’s rapid move toward renewable practice adoption is creating significant demand and appeal for forward-looking investors: “One of Saudi’s vision goals is to make the country the world’s sixth largest energy generator, These changes encourage investors to be more interested in doing solar business in Saudi Arabia.”

“This is the right show, at the right time, in the right place,” explained Informa’s Karani. “We are seeing high level debate and discovering rich market insights from the conference and a stream of indicative partnerships and supply deals are emerging from the exhibition floor.”

Organized by Informa Markets, which manages a wide-ranging portfolio of specialist events healthcare, real estate and power exhibitions in Saudi Arabia, Middle East Electricity Saudi is designed to support Saudi Vision 2030 and fully promote Saudization plans.

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