In Saudi Arabia, it is up to 24% of proven oil reserves in the world. Oil provides 90% of exports and 75% of budget revenues. It would seem that what the country to develop solar energy?
Saudi Arabia is clearly not fit into the stereotype of the oil superpower. It's hard to believe, but the Wahhabi kingdom wants to come out on top in the world in volume of solar power generation. The plans of the Saudis - in a report of the magazine The Atlantic .
Now near Riyadh begins construction of a large plant for the production of solar panels. On the coast of the Persian Gulf is planned to build a plant for the production of a large number of polysilicon, which is needed to make the panels. And next year, the two state-owned companies, which control the energy sector, - Saudi Aramco and Saudi Electricity Company - will begin construction of ten solar power plants across the country. In the future, more and deliver solar panels for export.
By the way, gasoline in Saudi Arabia sold at 13 cents per liter, and electricity to the population is 1 cent per kWh - that's where paradise Bitcoin farms. In a magnificent set of road riding monstrous SUV on buildings and no one thinks to do insulation, all working around the clock conditioners (accounting for 70% of all energy consumption in the country, according to statistics 2013).
For comparison, a private company Acwa Power International is ready to produce and sell in Saudi Arabia of solar energy for the price of 5, 84 cents per kilovatt⋅chas. It cost plus profit. Apparently, this is the lowest cost of solar energy in the world, but the government subsidies of petroleum power is still too high a price.
Electricity in Saudi Arabia generated directly by combustion of oil, which is extremely inefficient: the 30 million population of the country ranks 6th in the world in oil consumption.
However, with such an abundance of cheap oil, it's just energy paradise. With production costs of about $ 4 per barrel for someone solar power may seem eccentricity. But the government believes that it is necessary to move forward and think about the future.
City of Riyadh. Photo: Mohammed Al-Deghaishim i>
According to the logic of the government to keep the 1st place in the world in the export of oil, they themselves have to switch to alternative energy sources. The fact that the country burns 25% of its oil, with domestic consumption growing by 7% a year. But in exporting these volumes could earn big money.
Furthermore, if consumption will continue to grow at such a pace, the country will have to import i> oil in 2038 (calculations of the British company Chatham House). Without the oil revenues, the country will simply fall apart. The state can no longer provide social benefits for citizens today who do not even pay taxes.
Therefore, power without oil - a matter of national security. In parallel with the solar stations, a contract with South Korea for the construction of two nuclear power plants.
In addition, Saudi Arabia is ideal for solar power plants. Here vast desert areas and near maximum intensity of solar radiation on Earth. You can make solar panels thousands of square kilometers. However, all that idyll spoiled sandstorms.
Eytelhuber engineer Georg (Georg Eitelhuber) develops technology in Saudi Arabia automatic cleaning of solar panels from dust (without water): brushes. Photo: Mohammed Al-Deghaishim i>
Still plan, by 2032, Saudi Arabia was planning to get from the sun 41 gigawatts of energy, which should be enough to cover 20% of needs. Who moved the dates to 2040. To implement the plan, the state will have to reform the energy system, but if there is no other way, will have to do it. Perhaps someday Saudi Arabia will become a model for other countries that want to eliminate the use of fossil fuels.