Solar energy and oil dependence



THE latest report from the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), which is one of the most dependable global organizations, indicates that solar power will become the largest source of energy in the world by 2050.

The agency has said the main reason for the wide use of solar power is the declining production cost, which means more countries and institutions would depend on it in the future.

According to officials concerned with environment protection, the increased use of solar energy will reduce dependence on fossil fuel such as oil and coal, the use of which emits 37,000 tons of carbon dioxide annually. This is a huge figure and is considered the main reason for global warming.

The main reason for the growing use of solar energy is the falling cost of solar panels and the credit goes to Chinese companies that have entered this promising market with force. The Chinese dominance in this market has sent shock waves among US competitors. American firms have started complaining about Chinese companies but nobody listens to their cries.

Even in Saudi Arabia, the government encourages individual initiatives to set up solar panels at their homes and institutions to harvest solar power and sell the surplus to the Saudi Electricity Company.

The question is whether the wide use of solar energy will have any negative impact on the Kingdom’s national economy, which depends heavily on oil exports or whether our economy will be able to overcome this oil dependence? We should be worried as we have been depending on this black gold for the past 50 years despite our efforts to get out of this economic dependence.

We pin big hope on Saudi Arabia's Vision 2030, initiated by Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman, deputy premier and minister of defense, and we have big expectations that it would change the Kingdom’s face. The vision aims to reduce the national economy’s dependence on oil revenue.

All ministries and government departments are determined to make the Vision a reality by carrying out various realistic programs, especially in the fields of education, culture and social development. The government has to foot huge bills for its infrastructure projects.

Once the Vision’s objectives are realized the fall in demand for oil will not affect the economy and the hydrocarbon resources will remain as a valuable wealth for use by future generations who will certainly discover new uses for them, adding value to the economy.

I like to point out that we need not worry about keeping oil underground as its uses will not end but will have added value in the future. At the same time, we should prepare for the future. We should exert greater efforts to develop oil technology and accelerate economic progress.