Saudi Restarts Renewable Energy Investment Plans with up to $50b in Solar, Wind by 2023

Saudi Arabia appears to be re-starting its efforts to expand renewable energy projects to meet growing domestic power needs with up to $50b invested through 2023, according to reports and comments by the Kingdom’s energy and industry minister Khalid al-Falih. The projects, part of the National Renewable Energy Plan (NREP) will be managed under a new office, the Renewable Energy Project Develop Office (REPDO).

NREP is being billed as “a long term, multifaceted renewable energy strategy designed to balance the domestic power mix in order to deliver long term economic stability and prosperity to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, while working towards carbon reduction commitments.”

The NREP is the official plan for the 9.5 gigawatts of renewable energy deployment that the government announced for Vision 2030. NREP will involve investments of $30 to $50 billion by 2023, according to Al-Falih. Power demand in the desert kingdom is growing 8% annually.

"[T]he cost of generating power from these renewable sources will be the lowest in the world," Khalid al-Falih said.

“[T]he cost of generating power from these renewable sources will be the lowest in the world,” Khalid al-Falih said.

REPDO will manage the tenders and will be led by a committee that includes the major energy players in the country from Saudi Aramco, Saudi Electricity Company, Electricity and Cogeneration Regulatory Authority and King Abdullah City for Atomic and Renewable Energy.

“This dedicated team will assume overall responsibility for the execution and delivery of the program, starting with the launch of the request for qualifications process on February 20,” Al-Falih said.

Saudi Arabia will invite international and domestic companies to bid for renewable energy projects in April, Minister of Energy, Industry and Mineral Resources Khalid Al-Falih said on Wednesday, adding that he expected to award the deals in September.

Khalid al-Falih with Minister of Commerce and Investment Dr. Majed Al-Qassabi.

Khalid al-Falih with Minister of Commerce and Investment Dr. Majed Al-Qassabi.

“The terms on renewable contracts will be motivating so that the cost of generating power from these renewable sources will be the lowest in the world,” Al-Falih said Wednesday at a press conference in Riyadh, according to Bloomberg.

The new plan follows and likely replaces previously announced plans to invest over $100b in renewable energy through Saudi Arabia’s KACARE, a plan that originally intended to produce a third of the nation’s electricity from solar panels by 2032 and more from wind, geothermal and nuclear reactors.