GRM 2010 GRM 2011

Abstract Details

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What are the requirements for high solar penetration in electricity production in Saudi Arabia?
Paper Proposal Text :
Middle East is one the world’s largest holder of crude oil and Gas proved reserves, Saudi Arabia, UAE and other countries of region have been relying on oil and gas to cope with their electricity and water desalination demand, without seriously exploring the potential of renewable energy.
Currently Saudi Arabia produces a large part of its electricity by burning oil, a practice abandoned in most countries, also Saudi Arabia’s power plants are inefficient, 70 percent of the kingdom’s electricity in 2013 were used for cooling. With just 30 million people, the kingdom the world’s sixth-largest consumer of oil.
Saudi Arabia has vast areas subject to strong solar irradiance which are very suitable for CSP (Concentrating Solar Power) and PV (Photovoltaics) Solar Power technologies, it has been estimated that the potential annual energy yield of CSP technology only is around 650 times the total electricity consumption of the country in 2009.
Saudi Arabia is planning to more than double its available generating capacity by developing solar and nuclear power generation. The Kingdom plans to build 16 nuclear power reactors, which could potentially cost more than $100 billion. Neighboring United Arab Emirates in December 2009 awarded a South Korean consortium the contract to build four nuclear power plants worth $20.4 billion.
Another alternative to the Nuclear scenario will be high perpetration of renewable mainly Solar and wind power coupled with gas fired CCGT (Combined Cycle Gas Turbine) for providing electricity baseload, this option should offer a better alternative to Nuclear power especially concerning cost, proliferation and safety concerns, and security. Solar energy in Saudi Arabia both CSP and PV could dominate over other resources such as wind as maximum energy output of both technologies coincide with the electricity peak load in the country which occurs between 12:00 PM to 5:00 PM daily and in the last week of August on yearly basis.
As comparison, Germany installed 7.6 gigawatts (GW) of solar energy in 2012, on midday of Saturday May 26, 2012, solar energy was able to cover over 40% of total electricity consumption in Germany. The federal government has a goal of 80% of electricity generation from renewable sources by 2050, despite Germany low potential of solar resources when compared to Saudi Arabia both in the weather conditions and the availability of land.
Another important factor in favor of renewable energies in Saudi Arabia is that it can be a driver for economic diversification of the country toward renewable technologies and combat unemployment which currently Saudi Arabia stands at 10.7% through the development of local expertise and encourage the development of the local supply chain which should create huge employment opportunities, its estimated that a high renewable penetration scenario could create 75,000 jobs.
The study will look at the requirement needed and the feasibility for high penetration of solar energy scenario in kingdom, investigate the financial requirement of such schemes and specificities of the region toward financing such projects. It would also consider impacting parameters such as advancement in thermal storage, interconnections with neighboring countries and the deployment of smart grids on future energy scenarios in the region.