In its capacity as the leading producer of crude oil among Opec member states, Saudi Arabia has a critical case to build as it attempts to drive an orderly energy transition.
At the start of COP28 last year, Prince Abdulaziz bin Salman, Saudi Arabia’s Energy Minister, reiterated that energy is fundamental and there is no value in stigmatising the industry as the global demand for hydrocarbons remains essential.
Energy transitions take time, effort, and judicial use of resources at our disposal; and, Saudi Arabia brings to the table a compelling action plan for decarbonisation.
Decarbonisation in Saudi Arabia is not just a policy shift, it's a paradigm shift.
Moving away from its historical reliance on oil, the Kingdom is forging a path towards a more diversified energy-efficient future, in line with forward-looking strategies such as the Saudi Vision 2030 and the Saudi Green Initiative (SGI).
The Kingdom has set in place an ambitious objective to diversify its energy mix and reduce its carbon footprint, aiming to produce 50 per cent of its electricity from renewables by 2030.
Furthermore, Saudi Arabia has launched a series of initiatives to stimulate renewable energy and reduce reliance on oil.
An example is the National Renewable Energy Program, which aims to add 27.3 gigawatts (GW) of renewable energy capacity by 2024, with a final target of 58.7 GW by 2030, in line with the Kingdom’s goal to reach 130 GW of renewable energy.
This target is backed by more than 80 initiatives in the public and private sectors, with investments exceeding $188 billion.
Net-zero by 2060 is an ambitious yet achievable plan for Saudi Arabia. However, achieving decarbonisation in the Kingdom involves more than just switching from fossil fuels to renewables, as it calls for a significant overhaul of our entire energy system.
The Kingdom, while fully aware of the substantial challenges that lie ahead, is undeterred in its commitment to forge a path that aligns with the evolving global discourse on environmental responsibility.
Saudi Arabia plans to invest approximately $266 billion in cleaner energy, encompassing a range of initiatives to not only generate renewable energy but also to add transport lines and distribution networks, with an aim to eventually export energy globally and produce clean hydrogen.
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