Tamara Abueish, Al Arabiya English

Published: 08 April ,2021: 06:27 PM GST Updated: 09 April ,2021: 02:27 PM GST

Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman announced the opening of the Sakaka IPP PV power plant, the Kingdom’s first renewable energy project, the Saudi Press Agency (SPA) reported on Thursday.

The launch of the Sakaka IPP PV and the signing power purchase agreements (PPA) for seven new projects are the result of King Salman’s directives and the Kingdom’s aim to develop its economy, in accordance with the Vision 2030’s renewable energy initiatives, according to SPA.

Saudi Arabia aims “to nationalize the renewable energy sector, promote the local content in it, and enable the manufacturing of the components of solar and wind energy production locally, allowing the Kingdom, within the next ten years, to become a global hub for conventional energy, renewable energy and their technologies,” the crown prince said.

“A few weeks ago, the ‘Green Saudi’ initiative and the ‘Green Middle East’ initiative were announced. I explained that, as a world-leading oil producer, we are well aware of our share of responsibility in advancing the fight against climate change. In continuation of our leading role in the stability of the energy markets, we will carry on playing the same role to lead in the area renewable energy,” he added. Gulf Saudi Crown Prince announces Saudi Green Initiative, Middle East Green Initiative

“This occasion underlines our determination to be leaders in all energy sectors and our endeavor to find the optimal energy mix and promote efficiency in producing and consuming energy. We witness today the launch and operation of Sakaka IPP PV, our first step to utilize renewable energy in the Kingdom. And soon, the construction of the Dumat Al-Jandal wind energy project will also be completed,” he added.

‘Record’ impact

PPAs were signed for seven new solar power projects in various regions in the Kingdom, SPA reported.

The output capacity of these projects, in addition to the projects of Sakaka and Dumat Al-Jandal, will amount to more than 3,600 MW, the crown prince said.

The projects will also power more than 600,000 households and reduce greenhouse gas emissions by more than 7 million tons, he added.

Some of these projects have also set new world records for the lowest cost of solar-produced electricity, according to SPA.

“These projects, along with other renewable energy projects, which are being developed across the Kingdom, constitute essential elements of our plans that seek to optimize the energy mix used to produce electricity,” the Crown Prince said.

“We aim to have the share of each gas and renewable energy in this mix at 50 percent by 2030, and to substitute gas and renewable energy for around a million BOEs of liquid gas per day used as fuel in electricity production, water salination, and other sectors.”

The Kingdom’s latest initiatives towards sustainability and renewable energy represent substantive parts of the country’s leadership role towards shared international issues, and are part of efforts made by the Kingdom during its presidency of the G20 Summit, SPA reported.