KSA perfect for nuclear energy, says Siemens CEO

Peter Loscher says potential for renewable energy projects is huge

Siemens has declined to comment whether it will assist any GCC nations with their nuclear power ambitions.
Siemens has declined to comment whether it will assist any GCC nations with their nuclear power ambitions.

By Damian Reilly and Soren Billing

The CEO of Siemens has said the potential for renewable energy projects in Saudi Arabia is huge, while declining to comment on whether the company would help Middle Eastern countries with their nuclear power ambitions.

“Projects with renewable energies have a huge potential in Saudi. The country has very large areas which would be suitable for wind or solar power due to its geographical position – investments which would pay off very quickly,” Peter Löscher told Arabian Business in an interview.

Switching to an energy mix with a significant share of renewables would allow Saudi to retain its oil reserves for a longer period of time, the global head of the German conglomerate added.

Earlier this month, Siemens was one of 12 major European companies to sign a declaration of intent to build a series of solar thermal power plants in the Sahara desert that would supply Europe with up to 20 percent of its energy by 2050.

The project, called Desertec, would require an investment of around US$571 million

Löscher declined to comment on whether Siemens had plans to help the UAE, or any other Middle Eastern countries, with their nuclear power ambitions.

The company is currently embroiled in a bitter dispute with France’s Areva to exit the two companies’ $2.855 billion joint venture in nuclear reactors.

In March it announced a deal with Rosatom, the Russian state owned nuclear group, to create another joint venture.

“The talks with both companies are ongoing, so…I cannot comment on any questions related to those business activities,” he said.

“But one thing is clear: In the future there is a huge potential for such kind of business.”

The French economy minister said in June that Areva was to hold talks with Kuwaiti authorities over its nuclear power plans.

The US government last year signed civil nuclear power deals with Saudi Arabia and the UAE.

Emirates Nuclear Energy Corporation (ENEC), the body responsible for implementing the UAE’s $41bn nuclear programme, wants to build three nuclear reactors, the first of which would come on stream by 2017.

Qatar has said its interest in nuclear power has waned amid lower oil prices since signing a memorandum with EDF, France’s largest electricity provider, in January 2008.



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