Saudi Arabian Renewable Energy Plans Show Promise

With much of the country’s wealth based around the oil industry, Saudi Arabia is fairly secure as far as energy is concerned. However, because there is a plenty of cash to spend, the current King of Saudi Arabia has decided it might be time to start seriously investing in the development of renewable energy. While they plan to focus on solar power in some areas, which seems a given, they do have plans for a renewable energy city much like the one I mentioned before in another article detailing the plans the United Arab Emirates has for the city of Masdar City.

Although Saudi Arabia has been making steps towards developing renewable energy over the last few years, several new projects have popped up that seem to show some promise. One of the biggest moves the country has made recently is to invest $150 million into a new solar manufacturing company called the Vision Electro Mechanical Company. The investment is intended to go towards the planning and construction of a rather large solar power plant that is to be placed in the east of the country in the Makkah Province (home to the city of Mecca). While exact figures for how much power is going to be generated or exactly what kind of plant it will be has yet to be announced, the plant will operate in a way that would allow the panels to follow the path of the sun to ensure maximum effect.

In order to make more long term plans for the development of renewable energy in Saudi Arabia, an announcement was made earlier this year that the country would pursue the construction of a city based around renewable energy. Named after King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz, the current King of Saudi Arabia, the King Abdullah City for Atomic and Renewable Energy will primarily focus on the development of nuclear energy in hopes of creating a “peaceful atomic program” for Saudi Arabia. Aside from the nuclear program, however, serious research into using solar power and the continued development of a solar program is one of the main goals of the city. Based outside of the city of Riyadh, it is envisioned that the King Abdullah City could act as the center for renewable energy research while spreading similar organizations across the country.

While there is little doubt that Saudi Arabia will continue to be one of the largest resources of oil in the world, it is good to see that they are willing to think beyond the present and into an era when the world would no longer be reliant on oil reserves. However, until the city is completed or a more widespread adoption of solar power is under taken, some critics may continue to say that efforts like this from the primary oil countries are only a drop in the bucket.

Photo Credit: Bakar_88 on Flickr