A couple days ago Bloomberg reported the following: "Saudi Arabia plans to generate solar electricity equaling the amount of its energy from crude exports, Oil Minister Ali Al-Naimi said." Wait, what? That sounds like a ridiculous quantity of solar electricity. The article doesn't say quantitatively how much energy that is, so I did a quick check. Saudi Arabia exports about 2.7 billion barrels of oil per year, each containing the equivalent of 1,700 Kilowatt hours of electricity for a total of 4.59 × 1012 KwH per year, or the equal of about one quarter or the world's annual electricity demand.
Okay, so obviously solar electricity equal to the energy in all of Saudi Arabia's crude exports is far more than the Saudis could ever use, so maybe I'm misunderstanding the Oil Minister's meaning. Except, Bloomberg goes on to report that "Saudi Arabia, the world's largest oil exporter, has the potential by 2020 to produce enough solar power to meet more than four times global demand for electricity, al-Naimi said." Okay, so it appears they really are planning to ramp up huge. World leading huge. Region-or-more powering huge. A development plan this ambitious can only mean that Saudi Arabia intends to become a huge source of exportable electricity.
Why would the world's largest oil producer wish to so quickly become the world's largest solar electricity exporter? I'm sure the Saudi leaders, looking around their country, had a conversation that started with, "so, apart from our rapidly depleting oil reserves, what natural resource do we have that could be exploited on an equally massive scale?"...MORE
Friday, June 10, 2011
"Saudi Arabia to Become the Saudi Arabia of Solar Electricity"
Sweet headline from AltEnergyStocks, here's the story: