Saudi Arabia delays $109bn solar plant until 2040

Project is set to produce 41 gigawatts of power, equal to about 70 per cent of the country’s current generation capacity.

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Saudi Arabia is delaying the completion date of a $109 billion solar energy project by eight years to 2040 as the world’s largest oil exporter continues work on plans to build renewable and nuclear power plants.

The project by the King Abdullah City for Atomic and Renewable Energy, a royal-chartered agency, was originally intended to be completed by 2032, producing 41 gigawatts of power, equal to about 70 per cent of the country’s current generation capacity.

“We have revised the outlook to focus on 2040 as the major milestone for long-term energy planning in Saudi Arabia,” Hashim Yamani, president of the agency also known as Ka-Care, said at a conference in Abu Dhabi yesterday. More time is needed to decide which domestic energy sources to use for the project, he said.

Saudi Arabia is among Arabian Gulf oil producers developing renewable energy to reduce burning of costlier fossil fuels to produce power. Abu Dhabi is already operating one 100-megawatt solar plant and Dubai last week awarded a contract for a 200-megawatt facility.

Saudi Arabia will consume about 129 gigawatts of power by 2032, Yamani said in his speech. The nation wants to be able to build solar plants with 80 per cent of the components made domestically, making it a regional hub for exports of renewable energy technology, he said.

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