CNN takes note of Saudi Arabia’s efforts to develop solar power. Citing both high oil prices and rapidly increasing demand for electricity in the Kingdom, the article also notes that aspirations don’t always lead to fulfillment. Solar power is still not highly efficient and natural gas provides real competition when it comes to efficiency and cost-effectiveness. That goes to explain why the Saudis are also hot on developing their gas resources.
I confess, I do like the trope that ‘Saudi Arabia will become the Saudi Arabia of X’, a humorous twist on the usual.
Saudi Arabia poised to become solar powerhouse
NEW YORK (CNNMoney) — The United States may be known as the Saudi Arabia of coal thanks to its large deposits. But under an expected investment push, Saudi Arabia could soon become the Saudi Arabia of solar power.
Early next year the oil rich kingdom is expected to announce a plan to get up to 10% of its electricity from the sun by 2020 — a more aggressive national policy than what’s in place in the United States.
The reason is mostly economic. The Saudis currently generate over 50% of their electricity by burning oil, which can consume up to an eighth of the country’s total oil output.
That made sense when oil was $10 a barrel. But at $100 a barrel it makes more sense for the Saudis to install solar panels and sell their oil on world markets.
Moreover, their electricity consumption is set to double by 2020.