Saudi Press

Saudi Arabia and the world
Thursday, Apr 18, 2024

Saudi Arabia spearheading the energy transition in Middle East

Saudi Arabia spearheading the energy transition in Middle East

The need for energy security has never been more critical in the history of mankind. Amid heightened political tensions, energy diversification programs and sustainability initiatives are a key part of the global agenda today, and countries are working hard to achieve their net-zero targets within the stipulated deadline.
As the world continues its journey to achieve zero emission targets, Saudi Arabia, a country that has been dependent on oil for several decades, is spearheading the energy transition mission in the Middle East region.

Saudi Green Initiative and the wider Middle East Green Initiative are revolutionizing the entire green journey in the region, and they are adequately supported by the Public Investment Fund’s Regional Voluntary Carbon Market Co. which auctioned off 1.4 million tons of carbon credits during the 6th edition of the Future Investment Initiative conference held in Riyadh in October last year.

And now, Riyadh is all set to host the 44th International Association for Energy Economics International Conference on Feb. 4-9 as the entire world is looking forward to the developments the region will witness during the event.

Paul Sullivan, lecturer at Johns Hopkins University and a senior associate fellow at King Faisal Center for Research and Islamic Studies Energy and Environmental Security, told Arab News that Saudi Arabia is steadily progressing with greater energy efficiency and resilience, in line with the goals outlined in Vision 2030.

“Saudi Arabia is progressing via Vision 2030, the Saudi Green Initiative, leading the Middle East Green Initiative, inter alia. It is making progress with solar energy. It will do a lot more on the many colors of hydrogen. It will likely start to develop a nuclear energy program further,” said Sullivan.

Joe Rahi, partner, McKinsey & Co., told Arab News that Saudi Arabia is playing a key role in ensuring an orderly energy transition.

“Saudi Arabia accounts today for the largest share of global oil exports — and it has the potential to become a significant exporter of clean, reliable and affordable energy in the future,” said Rahi.

He further pointed out that the Kingdom has unique access to competitive natural resources both in the form of natural gas to produce blue hydrogen, as well as solar resources and land to develop green hydrogen.

Meanwhile, Saudi Arabia’s ACWA Power and its partners are working steadily in NEOM to complete the construction of the world’s largest green hydrogen project.

In 2022, NEOM’s CEO Nadhmi Al-Nasr had noted that the first phase of its green hydrogen facilities is expected to come online in 2025. The $500-billion megacity will be powered entirely by clean energy and will cover 10,000 sq. miles, an area 33 times the size of New York.

Sullivan further noted that Saudi Arabia could be the leader of energy transition in the region by developing joint investments, research programs, training and education throughout the Middle East and North Africa region.

“The region and the world really are small. Much more can be learned by working together and not against each other. Just giving money is not enough. The whole region needs to move forward in all aspects of the transition and how the transition affects the energy-water-food-security-economy nexus,” said Sullivan.

Rahi pointed out that Saudi Arabia should create national champions who can develop, produce and scale low-carbon energy to achieve energy transition goals.

According to Rahi, countries in the Middle East could promote investments to scale the supply of carbon capture, utilization and storage technologies along with low-carbon hydrogen and ammonia.

“The region has significant untapped potential here since the geological characteristics of its sedimentary basin could make it a global hub for carbon storage,” he said.

Rahi added: “Stakeholders could boost the development of renewables, including upgrading the supporting infrastructure. Incentives could help accelerate the move to electrification and energy efficiency in buildings, industry and the transportation sector.”

He further noted that the energy transition in the region is creating an opportunity to innovate, which includes creating a startup ecosystem for clean technologies.

Reiterating the views of top industry experts, Sullivan noted that energy transition in a sustainable manner will not happen quickly, and it demands time to materialize the green goals.

“All major transitions take time. The energy transition is no different. It has to be timed and developed for every place in a way that allows peace, prosperity, energy security and climate security,” said Sullivan.

He added: “If it is pressed on too quickly, severe energy, economic insecurity and instability could result. If it is allowed to be delayed too long, then the world and regional climates and environments could be significantly damaged. Extremism is the enemy of energy transitions, much like it is the enemy of society in general.”

Rahi opined that affordable conventional energy is still required to ensure socioeconomic growth, especially for developing countries, and added that low carbon and renewable energy such as hydrogen and solar will continue to play an increasingly important role in the growing energy system.

“To move to large-scale deployment of renewables, countries would also need to invest in grid stabilization and storage to ensure the reliability of supply and integrate renewables into existing systems,” he added.

As Saudi Arabia continues its sustainability journey, events like IAEE International Conference could catalyze the speed of the energy transition, which will ultimately make the world green and beautiful for humankind.

Related Articles

Saudi Press
Reports in Gaza: 5 dead from the impact of aid packages dropped by the USA
Apple warns against drying iPhones with rice
China Criticizes US for Vetoing UN Ceasefire Resolution in Gaza
In a recent High Court hearing, the U.S. argued that Julian Assange endangered lives by releasing classified information.
The U.S. vetoed a U.N. Security Council resolution calling for a temporary ceasefire in Gaza, instead proposing its own six-week ceasefire plan contingent upon the release of all hostages held by Hamas
Prince William Urges End to Gaza Conflict
Saudi Arabia ranks first in UN index for e-government services in MENA
Israel has gone ‘beyond self-defence’ in Gaza, says Labour’s Streeting
EU Calls for Immediate Ceasefire in Gaza Conflict
Israel Records 20% Drop In GDP, War In Gaza Is The Reason
Saudi Arabia's FDI Inflows Grow with New International Standards
Venture Capitals Power Up Across MENA Region
Saudi Arabia Introduces Terms for 30-Year Income Tax Exemption for Multinational Companies
Saudi FM: Establishing Palestinian state is only pathway for Mideast stability
Russian opposition leader Alexey Navalny has died at the Arctic prison colony
Elon Musk's Starlink Gets License For Israel, Parts Of Gaza
Influencers Exploit X Platform for Profit Amidst Israel-Gaza Conflict
PM Modi Announces Opening Of New CBSE Office In Dubai
International Criminal Court's Chief "Deeply Concerned" By Rafah Bombing
January Funding for MENA Startups Totals $86.5 Million
Saudi Arabia accelerates digital economy growth through Nvidia partnership
Indian female military officers commend Saudi Arabia's progress and women's empowerment
Israel unveils tunnels underneath Gaza City headquarters of UN agency for Palestinian refugees
Israel deploys new military AI in Gaza war
Egypt threatens to suspend key peace treaty if Israel pushes into Gaza border town, officials say
Israel Utilizes AI Military Technology in Gaza Conflict
Saudi Arabia Warns Of A "Humanitarian Catastrophe" If Israel Moves On Rafah
China Warns Iran to Halt Houthi Attacks or Damage Trade Ties
US University To Shut Qatar Campus Due To "Heightened Mideast Instability"
Iran-backed hackers interrupt UAE TV streaming services with deepfake news
Facebook and Instagram Ban Iran's Supreme Leader
Finnish Airline, Finnair, is voluntarily weighing passengers to better estimate flight cargo weight
U.S. Secretary of State Blinken: The Israelis underwent dehumanization on 7.10, this does not give them the right to do this to others.
Defense Technology Showcase Held in Riyadh
Saudi Arabia’s non-oil exports rise 2.5% to $6bn in November 2023: GASTAT
UK Bans Misleading "Zero Emissions" Claims for Electric Cars
Gaza's Teen Inventor Sparks Light in Displacement
Netanyahu Rejects Ceasefire Proposal, Insists On Total Victory Over Hamas
Guterres appoints independent UNRWA review panel
Private Sector Employment Hits Record High with Over 11 Million Employees in January
Rolls-Royce Executive Encourages Saudi Women to Tap into Their Inner 'Superhero' for Success in Defense Industry
Saudi Arabia launches National Academy of Vehicles and Cars
Saudi Tourism Minister Reveals Plan for 250,000 New Hotel Rooms by 2030
SAR to more than double eastern network passenger capacity with new trains deal
Saudi Arabia Enhances National Defense with New Partnerships
Saudi Aramco Maintains Arab Light Crude Pricing to Asia for March
NEOM Establishes New York Office to Support Investors
Saudi Wealth Fund Draws in Over $25 Billion Worth of Investments in Three Years, Al-Rumayyan Reveals
ZATCA Cautions Against Scammer Schemes
INTRA Defense Technologies inaugurates drone factory in Riyadh