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Saudi Arabia must push to diversify energy resources
17/04/2017  Saleh Fareed - Saudi Gazette

As a result of major transformations in the global energy system that take place over the next years, Saudi Arabia must look at its current energy policy to diversify its energy sources inclusive of cleaner energy sources such that of sun light and wind in order to put in place an energy policy that secures a sustainable development, according to a study.

The new study titled “Utilization of Energy Sources by G20 Countries” was conducted jointly by Dr. Hisham Al Idrisi and Dr. Basil Omar Al-Sasi, Faculty of Engineering, Department of Industrial Engineering, King Abdulaziz University.

Speaking to Saudi Gazette about the study, Dr. Hisham Alidrisi, Associate Professor, Dept. of Industrial Engineering, revealed that the global international trend for the energy utilization policies is leading toward placing major efforts in increasing the utilization of alternative sources of energy.

The study indicates that the G-20 economies account for around 85% of the gross world product (GWP), 80% of world trade (or, if excluding EU intra-trade, 75%), and two-thirds of the world population.

He said “the amount of available sunlight in Saudi Arabia, for example, provides a good potential source of alternative energy to test the feasibility of renewable energy when carrying out pilot studies on Dye-sensitized solar cells (DYSC), which absorbs and transforms daylight inside buildings into energy.”

He added that such a technology when applied as an energy source it could help in reducing the reliability on fossil fuel domestically, increasing the longevity of oil and gas as an industry and maintain its sustainability as a source of energy for the various industrial uses on a global scale.

The study also found that experts from the oil and gas industry speculate that by the year 2030 Saudi Arabia would turn into an oil importing country with the absence of concrete measurements toward the exponential increase in the domestic oil consumption. Currently the country consumes one quarter of the daily oil production.

Placing Saudi Arabia one of the world›s largest oil consumer with an average annual increase of 5.7% domestic oil consumption rate. A total of nine fold increase in less than five decades surpassing the US, China, India, Japan, and Russia. The increase is highly correlated to the countries high birth rate, population increase and associated demand for fresh desalinated drinking water plants and electrical powers plants both heavily reliant on oil and gas.

The power demand in Saudi Arabia is growing by almost 8% every year, consequently consuming the countries oil surplus by 2030 in absence of alternative energy sources.

Dr. Basil Omar Al-Sasi, assistant professor, said: “The power demand in Saudi Arabia is growing by almost 8% every year, consequently consuming the countries oil surplus by 2030 in absence of alternative energy sources. These highlighted concerns, as stressed by some of the oil and gas experts, should stimulate creative ideas to identify new diversified energy sources for implementation in the generation of electricity.”

According to Dr. Basil, this study provides a clearer insight on what direction to consider in formulating a future energy policy, mainly, for Saudi Arabia. However, the discrepancies found in the nuclear energy policies of the G 20 countries, once considered, also stimulates an interest to rank the G 20 countries from the aspect of the various energy sources utilization, using TOPSIS as a tool to carry out the positioning of the G 20 countries in a rank list.

To overcome the associated concerns, related to shortage of cooling water needed for nuclear plants, in a desert environment, the study suggests a further study addressing and identifying the volumes of recycled sewage water made available to serve the purpose of cooling nuclear plants in Saudi Arabia.

The study pointed out also that the energy policies of the G20 countries have a great potential for improvement towards a more efficient, contingent and balanced sustainable economic growth improvement when placing the German energy policy as a benchmark.

“ Despite the fact that Germany managed to produce 30% of its energy from renewable sources mainly wind, yet still imports 60% of its energy from neighboring European countries such as France which is the leading country in nuclear energy generation and export,” said Dr. Basil.

In conclusion, Dr. Basil noted that Saudi Arabia must look at its current energy policy to diversify its energy sources inclusive of cleaner energy sources such that of sunlight and wind in order to put in place an energy policy that secures a sustainable development.

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