The high rate of population growth and economic growth in Saudi Arabia is followed by a rise in the rate of energy consumption, whether it is fuel, electricity or desalination. To maintain the existing resources, achieve balance, meet the requirements of life for future generations and achieve economic development; Saudi Arabia has taken serious steps in utilizing renewable energy sources as well as oil and gas within the national energy mix.
Thus, Saudi Arabia has launched the National Renewable Energy Program (NREP), in an active aspiration to indigenize the renewable energy market in Saudi Arabia with the highest international standards. The program aims to activate our local sources of renewable energy production, it is planned to produce 9.5 GW of renewable energy by 2023 with an interim target of producing 3.45 GW by 2020.
This NREP will contribute to Saudi Arabia's economy and the development of human resources through the expansion of investment in new sectors, as well as its attraction of national and international companies' investments, and the establishment and indigenization of advanced technologies.
The Sun has been the main source of energy on Earth for millions of years and has played a vital role in the development of life. For a long time, mankind has tried to exploit this vital source for the benefits it could offer. Owing to the technological development throughout the decades, humanity has been able to develop further research and innovations in the field of solar energy for generating electricity, until this source became no less important than the other sources of energy.
Through the plans and objectives of Vision 2030, Saudi Arabia has focused on investing in solar energy as a promising opportunity to meet the growing demand for energy, and to provide favorable climatic conditions and suitable economic feasibility.
Solar energy can be harnessed by one of the following techniques:
Photovoltaic energy is defined as a group of solar cells that convert sunlight to electricity. It can be used in applications of different sizes such as photovoltaic power plants and what we see on the roofs of some buildings and houses, as well as streets lighting, traffic signs and other applications. Note that PV can be stored during the daytime and used after sunset.
Concentrated Solar Energy is the technique of exploiting the heat from solar radiation falling on the ground to produce electricity, using mirrors to concentrate a large amount of sunlight on a receiver containing liquid for heating, which is then used to produce steam and operate turbines for electricity generation. CSP can also be used in some industrial applications and water-heating in buildings.
Wind energy is defined as the energy generated by converting the movement of the wind from kinetic energy to electricity through wind turbines (Energy Transformation). The location of wind fields is largely based on the study of wind activity in the region, and it is measured by geological studies, satellites, sensory monitoring and measurement devices.
Geothermal energy is known as natural thermal energy derived from underground, and is mainly used to generate electricity by exploiting deep underground temperatures to produce steam and operate turbines to generate electricity. In addition, it can be used in some industrial applications and cooling or heating buildings.
Waste-to-energy is defined as energy that is based on the treatment and exploitation of waste and its transformation into electricity and fuel. The sources of waste vary from solid waste to agricultural and animal wastes among others. There are a large number of technologies capable of producing energy and fuel from waste without the need to burn waste directly, and many of them have the ability to produce more electricity than those produced from the same amount of fuel by direct combustion. Waste-to-energy conversion projects have the dual objective of reducing the amount of waste being processed and stored, as well as for the production of useful energy in an environmentally friendly manner.