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The Saudi Potential

AlMashariq president talks about the growing Saudi power market

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Saad Mohammed AlZahrani, president, AlMashariq
Saad Mohammed AlZahrani, president, AlMashariq

Saad Mohammed AlZahrani, president, AlMashariq, talks about the growing Saudi power market.

How’s business?

With the recent focus on infrastructure expansion in the Kingdom, the emphasis on increased power production continues to be strong. The Saudi Electric Company (SEC) alone has an estimated planned capacity growth of 30MW up to 2021 equating to an increase of 67 per cent over current SEC installed capacities. This is estimated to account for only 60 per cent of this forecasted capacity – with SEC-IPPs and Non-SEC companies such as the Saline Water Conversion Corporation and Saudi Aramco making up the rest.

Taking this growth into account, the need for qualified EPCs to execute the associated power generation and interconnection substations will continue to be in great demand. We are currently working on a number of projects with key customers in the Kingdom’s power sector and are focused on continuing our growth and vision to be a preferred EPC.

With the rising power demand in Saudi Arabia, how do you see the country tackling shortages?

There are a number of options currently being investigated but it is very clear that harnessing renewable energies appears to be at the forefront. I see this as a positive development. Currently, the main focus seems to be on solar technologies which are an obvious choice. However, there are also initiatives and pilot projects targeting wind. In order to maximise the benefits of renewable energy sources, it is imperative that the country’s diverse geography and climate be taken into account in order to maximise the benefits of introducing such technologies.

What could be done to rationalise power consumption?

Rationalising power consumption depends on multiple factors. Its important to promote the concept of power conservation to downstream industrial, commercial and residential consumers. However, power conservation does not just mean cutting back consumption by simply switching loads off when not needed. It has to do with evaluating consumption from the perspective of losses. All parties must continually address the question of whether their consumption (or production) of power has any inherent losses. In the case of residential consumers – this may be in the form of switching to energy saving lights and appliances.

What do you think of Saudi Arabia plans to privatise the electricity sector by 2014?

This goes hand-in-hand with rationalizing power consumption and is a needed step. It opens the door for greater investment in the Kingdom which in turn should facilitate the use of a variety of technologies for power delivery. Ideally, with privatization comes increased competition. However, this increased competition may also bring with it stricter conditions on consumers to ensure that in order to continue benefiting from competitive rates, consumers make real efforts to adhere to specific consumption guidelines – such as a minimum power factor for industrial facilities.

What’s on the horizon for Al Mashariq for the next 12 months?

Our inspiration comes from the continued recognition and appreciation of our clients and our evolution comes from the ever increasing market demand for turnkey and sustainable solutions. We are currently engaged in a number of strategic initiatives that will significantly enhance our overall offering to our clients through both vertical and horizontal integration efforts – the results of which we believe will be very well received.

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