The first step toward a green Saudi Arabia

The first step toward a green Saudi Arabia

Giacomo Maniscalco
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The oil kingdom has a plan to invest $30 billion to $50 billion in renewables, and Australia's Kangaroo Island is looking to self-sustainability and the possibility of exporting green energy to the mainland

Saudi Arabia has unveiled a plan to invest between $30 billion and $50 billion in green energy by 2023. The announcement was made by Saudi energy minister Khalid al-Falih, who confirmed the Kingdom’s intention to increase the share of non-fossil fuels in its energy mix to 30% by 2030. According the ministry, local and international firms have already been invited to bid in the first tenders. Its new Renewable Energy Project Development Office has issued a request for qualification (RFQ) for business consortia and companies interested in bidding to develop the first 700 MW of a planned total of 10 GW of wind and solar projects.
The Saudis’ interest in green energy is motivated by worries over a rising national budget deficit that would be impossible to balance on oil revenue alone at current prices. Al-Falih stated that his government intends to create "the most attractive, competitive and well-executed government renewable energy investment programs in the world," adding that his country has all the necessary infrastructure to guarantee that.
The residents of Australia’s Kangaroo Island are demanding an energy revolution to put an end to blackouts caused by the aging undersea cable that links the island to the mainland’s power grid. According to a report by the Institute for Sustainable Futures at the University of Technology Sydney, replacing the cable would cost $169 million, $10 million more than the necessary investment for building a grid on the island based on wind and solar. Kangaroo Island’s mayor, Peter Clemens, believes both projects are necessary: “We need to have that umbilical cord from the mainland and the upgrade of that umbilical cord … but we’re pretty intent on going down this renewable energy track, to become an island that’s self-sustaining in every way,” he said. In order to bear the cost of his ambitious proposal, Clemens offers a plan that could potentially meet all the island’s energy needs, at the same time supplying a steady energy supply, a store of renewable energy, and a new source of revenue from exporting the green energy to the mainland via the new cable.