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KSA could adopt renewables regulation by 2011

Aramco: Kingdom able to produce 10% of power from renewables by 2020.

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Saudi will go solar soon, some say.
Saudi will go solar soon, some say.
Saudi will go solar, some say.
Saudi will go solar, some say.

A high level government official has advocated the approval of a regulatory framework for investment in renewable energy by 2011. The news comes as a top executive at oil giant Saudi Aramco said that renewable could account for 10 percent of the kingdoms power output by 2020.

The proposed measures should include government funding for the renewable sector, and the establishment of feed-in tariffs determined by an auction process, said Adullah al Shehri, governor of the Saudi Electricity and Cogeneration Authority (ECRA).

Saudi Arabia would be the first GCC country to create the regulatory framework to promote renewables, setting a benchmark for region and laying the groundwork for an ambitious expansion of the renewables sector.

"We developed the policy and we were ready as regulators to submit to our board for approval and then take it to the council of ministers," Sheri told Reuters.

Government body ECRA is regulator of the water and desalination sector. ECRA had previously set a June 2010 target for approval of regulation.

There would be no progress if the proposals were not accepted, warned Sheri. "If they don't provide the funds nothing will move forward."

ECRA has also suggested an auction to take place for power produced from renewable sources on a feed-in tariff model: "We suggest that there will be an auction...and the result of that auction will determine the price. The lowest price will be the feed-in tariff for the next three years."

The government also needed to clarify which body would be regulating renewables contracts going forward. "Anybody who wants to invest in renewables in Saudi Arabia will find it difficult to know who to talk to," Shehri said. The future role of ECRA will be to issue project licenses, he said.

Meanwhile Ahmad al Khowaiter, director of the new business evaluation department at Aramco, voiced his optimism about establishing a sizeable renewable sector in the kingdom:"The proposed target is between seven to 10 percent of peak electricity generated by renewables by 2020, most likely solar...that represents roughly 5 gigawatts by 2020. Can we achieve that target? It's feasible."

"We believe large scale power generation from solar can be achieved near the end of this decade, near 2020. Beyond 2020, the economics will be clearly in the favour of deployment of solar power," Reuters reported Khowaiter as saying.

Aramco has held discussions with Abu Dhabi's Masdar City for future collaboration, Khowaiter revealed.

The Gulf Arab state has said it was investing $80 billion to boost power generating capacity to 60,000MW by 2020. Installed capacity in the kingdom had reached 46,000MW by March, an official has said. It was around 43,000MW in 2009, with peak demand at around 40,000MW. Shehri said peak power demand reached 41,000 megawatts in 2009.

The kingdom announced in April it would set up a scientific centre called King Abdullah City for Atomic and Renewable Energy. The centre would be in charge of promoting research and sealing future deals.

On Wednesday, it was announced that Saudi Arabia’s first large scale solar park has been completed. The 2MW park consists of 9,300 solar modules erected on the roof of the King Abdullah University of Science and Technology in Jeddah.
 

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