RIYADH— Minister of Petroleum and Mineral Resources Ali Bin Ibrahim Al-Naimi said that he is a staunch supporter of renewable energy and a strong believer in the crucial role it would play in the future.
Speaking at a debate in Berlin, Al-Naimi reassured all the renewable energy is an equation in the Saudi energy mix and emphasizing, “It is one of the components of energy.”
He also cast light on the role Saudi Arabia is playing in the field of efficiency of energy and renewable resources consumption, Saudi Press Agency reported Thursday.
At the “Transfers in the Field of Energy” debate, he spoke on extracting carbon dioxide emissions and using them in products containing this element, citing polymers and fertilizers and others.
He pointed out that fossil energy has helped Europe during its early economic and industrial development and renaissance and is still of great importance to many, as it will continue to represent a basic part of the world energy mix in the coming decades.
“It would help upgrade the lives of millions of people on the earth and help us achieve the United Nations sustainable development plans as agreed upon last year,” he said.
He stated that some are calling for keeping the fossil energy underground. “This is a wide-range political vision in Europe but it is not practical or realistic,” he said, adding, “Only very few countries on earth could take such a dramatic decision to transfer, all of a sudden, from dependence on coal to solar energy and from there to nuclear.”
He drew attention to the fact that 1.3 billion people on the earth have no access to electric energy and, so lack the freedom to choose any.
Al-Naimi also questioned the reasoning behind the move to get rid of a natural energy source that is considered the most effective, economically the best and most available on the surface of the earth.
“No doubt, the best is to use our brains and direct our investments to reduce the detrimental effect of emissions coming out of the fossil energy to pave the way for ultimately getting rid of it instead of thinking to stop using fossil energy itself,” Al-Naimi said.
“This is not just a mere wish from one party or excessive optimism from another party, but history is witness of a rich record of conforming the remains and wastes to valuable products. For instance, we in the Kingdom, used to burn surplus gases until the gas torches were habitually changing the skies of the Kingdom to bright ones.
“What happened is that, since the 1980s of last century, we succeeded in extracting gas and using it in manufacturing new products and creating job opportunities. Meanwhile, we were able to save as much as 2.8 gegatons of carbon dioxide,” he added.
“Since we were able to achieve this, couldn’t we repeat it with carbon dioxide as we are still in the early third millennium? Definitely, we can. I’m so confident in the ability of modern technology,” he stated.
“Had we continued the investment and cooperation path together, we would be able in the end and no doubt to eliminate the harmful emissions. I’m sure that this vision would create a great chance for Germany, the giant of engineering and industry,” Al-Naimi said.
Al-Naimi added that, for its part, the Kingdom is devoting itself to innovating this technology at an international level through research, and developing and forming international partnerships which include the clean energy technology initiative, and the pioneering forum to separate carbon and store it.
“A host of countries are exerting efforts in this domain but it is too early to give something accurate as the range of partnership is relatively small but indications auger well,” he said, adding, “If we are speaking about extracting emissions from factories and vehicles, we are, at the same time, searching to reach products in which carbon is needed as component of its structure, like polymers and fertilizers, and even food. Here, I can announce that the results of research are promising in this regard.”
Al-Naimi, while shedding light on the Kingdom’s efforts in the energy consumption efficiency, said the Kingdom has taken a series of measures aiming to encourage the change of behavior of energy consumers, citing awareness campaigns among the youth, as well as the new regulations addressed to users of energy in the industrial field, most important of which are those relating to air-conditioning units, a major source of energy consumption in the Kingdom.
He said the Kingdom spares no effort to invest in research and development leading to the discovery of a new clean energy and to the improvement of vehicle engine efficiency.
“In view of the current world population increase, we suggest that it is important for all countries of the world to look for improving energy consumption efficiency and maintaining this valuable source,” Al-Naimi said, adding, “I call for German companies and institutions to share with us in reaching this goal.”
Al-Naimi said the Kingdom is undertaking a prominent role in enhancing the special value series of renewable energy, including research and development conducted in universities and scientific centers and cities. Moreover, Saudi private sector companies, including Aqua Power, are making great strides in creating great and crucial industry based on investment in solar energy.