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Saudi Arabia, the world’s largest exporter of crude oil, produces about 12.5 million barrels a day, but as its economy continues to develop its domestic oil consumption also grows, leaving less and less oil to export for profit.
As part of a plan to increase the amount of oil available for export, Saudi Arabia intends to invest heavily in renewable energy, and with that in mind it has begun to evaluate it renewable energy generating potential.
King Abdullah City for Atomic and Renewable Energy (KACARE) has stated that by using renewable sources for electricity generation and water desalination facilities, the country can reduce its hydrocarbon consumption by up to 50% by 2032.
In February Saudi Arabia published a roadmap for its renewable energy programme, and now KACARE has begun its plans to install around 70 monitoring stations around the entire country that will measure various factors to determine the potential for solar, wind, and geothermal energy production in different areas of the Gulf nation. ArabianBusiness reports that so far ten stations have been completed.
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The measurements collected will be used to form a database that will prove essential for encouraging and developing renewable energy projects in the area, giving investors a good indication as to where the best locations will be to build different types of energy generating plants. The results will be released in a plan at the end of this year.
Reuters wrote that, Saudi Arabia plans to install 23.9GW of renewable capacity before 2020, and then increase that to 54.1GW by 2032. It hopes to attract around $109 billion of foreign investment in order to develop a solar energy industry that would boast 41GW by 2032. If these plans come to fruition then Saudi Arabia would become one the largest renewable energy generating countries in the world.
Saudi Arabia still a has a long way to go, as it currently only boasts around 3MW of solar power, less than Egypt, Morocco, Tunisia, Algeria, and the UAE, according to Bloomberg.
By. Joao Peixe of Oilprice.com
Joao is a writer for Oilprice.com