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Saudi solar drive could create 7,000 jobs

Saudi Arabia’s solar project that is expected to bolster exports by empowering the local manufacturing industry, will eventually bring online 7,000 jobs by 2020

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The UAE is a pioneer of utility scale projects in the GCC
The UAE is a pioneer of utility scale projects in the GCC

The ongoing drive by Saudi Arabia to integrate renewable energy as a major power source could help generate thousands of jobs for the Kingdom.

According to a report by Bloomberg, Saudi Arabia’s solar project that is expected to bolster exports by empowering the local manufacturing industry, will eventually bring online 7,000 jobs by 2020.

Saudi Arabia has already shortlisted companies for its solar and wind power projects. France's EDF Energies Nouvelles, Japanese companies Marubeni Corporation and Mitsui & Co. and Saudi Acwa Power are among the firms which have qualified to bid for the 300 megawatt solar PV project in Sakaka, the Al Jouf Province in the north of the kingdom.

Abu Dhabi Future Energy Company (Masdar), GE, Marubeni Corporation, Mitsui & Co., JGC Corp, SNC Lavalin Arabia and Iberdrola Renovables Energia are among those qualified to bid for the 400 megawatt wind farm project in Midyan in the northwest.

"The market response to the Kingdom’s invitation to its first renewable energy projects has been overwhelmingly positive, demonstrating market confidence in our vast renewable energy potential and investment environment," Saudi Energy Minister Khalid Al Falih said.

Saudi Arabia is targeting 9.5 GW of renewable energy by 2023 in line with Vision 2030, an economic reform plan launched last year to diversify the economy beyond oil.

The renewables programme involves investment of between $30 billion and $50 billion by 2023.

Its state oil giant Saudi Aramco has said renewables is in its radar as it will play a major role in the sector. It has created a department for renewables within the company to develop wind and solar projects.

Saudi Aramco is part of the renewable energy steering committee chaired by Falih which will oversee the renewable energy programme.

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