With growing greenhouse effects and erratic climatic changes, more and more countries are considering options to go green. So, the news that Saudi Arabia focuses on alternative energy comes as no surprise. However, the kingdom has its own reasons for the move.
Though the kingdom has huge oil reserves which are far from being exhausted, Ali Al-Naimi – the Oil Minister, recently said that the government is planning to explore renewable and nuclear energy resources as it fears that the growing energy demand of the domestic sector could force it to cut its oil exports to meet the in-house demand. The minister also said at a conference in Riyadh that the country has already started to take the necessary steps so that it can utilize varied energy sources locally, with a definite stress on solar and nuclear energy.
The oil reserves of the kingdom are one of its massive proven reserves of traditional energy sources. In November 2010, Al-Naimi told the figure to be around 264 billion barrels, and said that if the current production levels are maintained, Saudi Arabia won’t find any problem in supplying crude for the next 80 years even if not another barrel was ever found. Still, the domestic energy demand of the country is rising steadily, and is anticipated to touch the oil consumption of almost 8 million barrels per day within the next 20 years –up from the present demand of 3.2 million barrels each day. A simple figure of electricity consumption can also prove the point. In 2010, it was just 40 gigawatts, but the figures in 2032 are expected to touch 120 gigawatts.
In order to ensure that the export capacity of the kingdom doesn’t get curtailed and the development work doesn’t take a hit, the government of Saudi Arabia has decided to transform the country from being solely dependent on oil to being self sufficient with the use of different sources of alternative energy.
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