ABU DHABI — Saudi Arabia’s Minister of Energy, Industry and Mineral Resources Khalid A. Al-Falih will lead the Kingdom’s biggest-ever presence at the 10th World Future Energy Summit (WFES) when the event gets under way next week. The official delegation forms part of Kingdom’s strong support for WFES as the country seeks to showcase the business opportunities presented by its commitments to combating climate change and to energy diversification. It will be the 2017 event’s largest national pavilion.
Saudi Arabia signed the Paris Climate Agreement on Nov. 3, 2016 ahead of the COP 22 United Nations Climate Change Conference held the same month in Marrakech, Morocco. The agreement entered into force on Dec. 3, 2016. Furthermore, as part of the Kingdom’s National Transformation Plan and in line with its Vision 2030, the country will seek to rapidly diversify its domestic power mix, targeting 9.5 gigawatts of renewable energy by 2023.
“Saudi Arabia has a long and successful history of fuelling global growth and prosperity by sustainably and reliably exporting energy to the world,” said Al-Falih.
“As we redefine our energy leadership in the context of our commitments to climate change mitigation and long term economic prosperity, we continue to develop and nurture meaningful engagement with public and private partners.”
In April, as part of the Vision 2030, Saudi Arabia set an initial renewable target of 9.5 gigawatts of renewable energy by 2023. The target is a dramatic increase on the nation’s 25 megawatts of installed renewable capacity at the end of 2015, placing new technology at the center of meeting an expected tripling of demand for electricity in the 14 years from 2016.
Saudi renewable energy plans include both wind and solar technologies, and industry analysis for WFES Solar Expo scores Saudi Arabia highly for solar energy’s potential demand and investor attractiveness. The Solar Expo ‘Advancing Solar Energy Solutions: Market Outlook’ report notes that the Kingdom has already moved to make the electricity network more competitive, separating generation and transmission, and opening the market to greater private-sector and foreign investment.
Alongside plans for renewable energy, Saudi Vision 2030 also includes a commitment to safeguard the environment by increasing the efficiency of waste management, establishing comprehensive recycling projects, reducing all types of pollution, and fighting desertification. In water management, it aims to promote the optimal use of resources by reducing consumption and utilizing treated and renewable water, as well as protecting and rehabilitating beaches, natural reserves and islands. Plans call for both private sector and government involvement, and endorse public-private partnerships in sustainable development.
The special ‘Focus on Saudi’ will include the largest national pavilion at the 2017 event, hosting key government and business entities responsible for driving the Saudi National Vision 2030. Exhibitors within the pavilion will include Saudi Aramco, King Abdullah Petroleum Studies and Research Center, Saudi Electricity Company, King Abdullah City for Atomic and Renewable Energy, King Abdulaziz City for Science and Technology, Saline Water Conversion Corporation, SABIC (Saudi Arabia Basic Industries Corporation), King Abdullah University of Science and Technology, ACWA Power, High Commission for the Development of Arriyadh, and Saudi Arabian Industrial Investments Company.
A conference component to the country focus will include insights from government ministers and key industry representatives, providing delegates with in-depth information on the kingdom’s plans. This will include implementation deadlines, project funding, and on the technologies and system innovations needed to fulfill Saudi Arabia’s ambitious strategies for renewable energy and reductions in carbon emissions.
Hosted by Masdar as Part of Abu Dhabi Sustainability Week (ADSW), WFES is committed to driving the business case for renewable energy, as well as associated fields such as water security and waste management. Since its first edition in 2008, WFES has helped bring clean technology to the forefront of the MENA region’s energy plans. The 2017 edition will be held at the Abu Dhabi National Exhibition Centre on Jan.16-19. — SG