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Green Globe: Saudi Arabia to solicit 60 GW of clean energy over next decade

SNL ImageKhalid Al-Falih, Saudi Arabia's energy minister, at a recent news conference. While the kingdom has been pursuing clean energy projects, Saudi Arabia is also exploring building nuclear reactors to expand its energy resources.
Source: Associated Press

Saudi Arabia will solicit solar and wind power projects throughout 2019 as part of an initiative to develop 60,000 MW of clean energy capacity in the next 10 years and diversify the oil-rich kingdom's electricity mix.

By 2030, Saudi Arabia wants to have 40,000 MW of solar photovoltaic capacity, 2,700 MW of concentrated solar power and 16,000 MW of wind capacity. According to a Jan. 9 presentation from the nation's Renewable Energy Project Development Office, Saudi Arabia plans to launch tenders for 12 projects with a combined capacity of about 3,100 MW in 2019.

The kingdom plans to create more than 35 clean energy "parks," concentrated in the western and central regions of the Arabian peninsula. Various governmental offices are working on ways to localize manufacturing to supply the parks, such as towers for wind turbines and solar panel modules.

Expanding into renewables has long been a goal of the Saudi government, though not without setbacks. The kingdom announced in March 2018 that it was partnering with Japan-based SoftBank Group Corp. to build a $200 billion solar power park that would have generated 200,000 MW of electricity by 2030. The deal fell apart in October, but the two parties reconvened and agreed to build a less ambitious, 1,800-MW solar project instead.

Sweden's energy regulator has proposed a rule that would wind up the country's electricity certificate system in 2030, when the country hopes to obtain 100% of its power come from clean energy sources.

The certificate system helps provide market-based support for renewable energy projects and has been in place since 2003. But according to a report from ReNews, Swedish wind association Svensk Vindenergi said ending the certificate program would thwart future investments in wind, solar and other clean energy technologies.

Sweden has been one of the biggest drivers in the global onshore wind market. According to a December 2018 research note from Wood Mackenzie Power & Renewables, Sweden, Norway and Finland are expected to account for 15% of new onshore wind capacity installed in Europe over the next 10 years.

Sweden reached its 2020 target of achieving 50% of its electricity from renewables in 2012, according to government statistics.

Turkey has canceled a tender for 1,000 MW of new solar capacity, pv magazine reported.

The Turkish government did not explain why the auction, scheduled for Jan. 29, will not go forward. Eren Engur, CEO of Turkish solar consulting agency Icarus Enerji, told pv magazine that the government is adjusting the details the tender and will relaunch it sometime in 2019.

Turkey's record on renewable energy development has been mixed. In November 2018, the country said it was moving forward with a 1,000-MW onshore wind tender for sometime in spring 2019, but the country did not disclose the results of a 1,200-MW auction for offshore wind projects.


* Officials in Australia have approved Reach Solar Energy Pty Ltd.'s 900-MW Yarrabee Solar Project, according to CleanTechnica.

* U.S. imports of solar panels improved through the end of 2018 after midyear turbulence caused by President Donald Trump's solar tariffs and policy changes in China, the world's biggest solar market.

* Denmark-based wind turbine-maker MHI Vestas Offshore Wind A/S announced it is opening its first U.S. office in Boston.

* India will auction 40,000 MW of solar and wind capacity every year until 2028, according to Yale Environment 360.

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