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Wind Industry Profile of

Saudi Arabia: No More Oil

Like most other countries the Saudi Kingdom cannot escape global developments and is increasingly turning to alternatives to oil and gas. The focus is shifting to sun and wind for the desert state. A first step towards commercial wind energy production has now been taken.

Measurements confirm that Saudi Arabia has great wind energy potential (Image: Pixabay)Measurements confirm that Saudi Arabia has great wind energy potential (Image: Pixabay)

Until now, the Arabian Peninsula has been a blank spot on the wind maps of the world. One reason for this is that Saudi Arabia was until recently quite locked to the outside world. Additionally for many years the country's oil reserves were considered infinite and thus believed to secure energy supplies far into the future.

The Kingdom holds the world's second largest oil reserves and the fourth largest gas reserves. But the development of recent years hasn't gone unnoticed. The fall in oil prices is increasingly affecting the population. Until now, extensive social benefits, financed by the oil wealth for the more than 33 million inhabitants, have provided inner peace and stability. But for how much longer?

Two years ago, ambitious goals were set: Under the name of 'Vision 2030', a 50 billion dollar programme is to gradually reduce oil consumption by 2030 and expand renewables to 16 gigawatts, a 50 percent share of the country's electricity supply.

Crown Prince and Chairman of the Council of Economic and Development Affairs Mohammad bin Salman bin Abdulaziz Al-Saud: "Vision 2030 is a bold yet achievable blueprint for an ambitious nation. It expresses our long-term goals and expectations and it is built upon our country’s unique strengths and capabilities. It guides our aspirations towards a new phase of development – to create a vibrant society in which all citizens can fulfill their dreams, hopes and ambitions to succeed in a thriving economy."

The first wind turbines have arrived in Saudi Arabia (Image: Royal Embassy of Saudi Arabia in Copenhagen)

Saudi Arabia has enlisted experienced help to build its first commercial wind farm: In a tendering process, a consortium of EDF Renewables and Masdar won the contract, which in turn awarded the turbine contract to Danish manufacturer Vestas. Together, the companies are responsible for planning, procurement and construction of the project.

“The Kingdom’s first utility-scale wind project opens a new chapter in our journey toward a diversified energy mix. The development of a wind energy industry in Saudi Arabia is an important component of our wider industrial diversification strategy,” said Khalid Al-Falih, minister of energy, industry and mineral resources when the bids were announced according to albawaba.

The first 20 wind turbines have now arrived in Saudi Arabia. The Dumat Al-Janda project costs the state 500 million dollars. In a first phase, a total of 99 wind turbines with a hub height of 130 metres and a rotor diameter of 150 metres will be erected. The 400-megawatt wind farm will be located in Al-Jouf province, 900 kilometres north of the capital Riyadh, near the Jordanian border. Commercial operation is scheduled to start in the first quarter of 2022. The wind farm will then supply up to 70,000 Saudi households with electricity, while saving some 994,000 tonnes of carbon emissions per year.

With the delivery, the first V150-4.2MW turbines can now be installed. The order also includes a 20-year service contract and a power purchase agreement (PPA) with the Saudi Power Procurement Company (SPPC).

The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia’s Ambassador to Denmark, Fahad bin Maayouf Al Ruwaily, said: “Denmark and Saudi Arabia both have strong ambitions in the field of renewable energy. I am glad to see some big Danish companies with cutting-edge technology in the field of renewable energy work in our country, Saudi Arabia, in green energy projects, and assisting the historic shift to a sustainable production of energy.”

Katrin Radtke
Saudi Arabia, wind farm, onshore, turbine, commercial operation, Vestas, Masdar, EDF, electricity, gas, oil, fossil fuel, renewable energy, change

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