Saudi Economic Survey: Kingdom Must Invest $88 Billion in Power

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[Saudi Economic Survey] – Saudi Arabia needs to invest SR 330 billion over the next 10 years as demand for electricity continues to grow 7-8 per cent annually, the Kingdom’s Minister of Water and Electricity has said.

Abdullah Al-Husayen told an industry conference held recently that the water and power sector would need investments of SR 500 billion in the next 10 years, and that demand for water was growing by more than 7 per cent annually.

‘It is expected that the maximum power load will reach 75,000 megawatts in the next 10 years which means the need to invest around SR 330 billion to boost generation capacity and transmission and distribution networks,’ Al Husayen said.

The figure for power investments was higher than an earlier SR 300 billion given by officials as needed to boost capacity to 80 gigawatts from 50 gigawatts, but appears to also include transmission and distribution costs.

‘The private sector is expected to contribute roughly 30 per cent of it or the equivalent of SR 100 billion,’ Al Husayen said.

‘It’s an approximation … that the demand for power is expected to continue to be growing 7-8 percent during the next 10 years,’ Al Husayen told reporters.

Although sitting on the world’s biggest oil and fifth largest gas reserves, Saudi Arabia is struggling to keep pace with rapidly rising power demand, as petrodollars have fueled a region-wide economic boom as well as rapid population growth.

Asked about solar power, Al Husayen said: ‘It may not be (of use) in the short term … but maybe nuclear energy will be more than solar energy in the future.’

Note: The Saudi Economic Survey a weekly publication in Saudi Arabia that covers the Kingdom’s economy, finance, trade and banking sectors, in addition to reporting about contract awards and tender offers. Click here to view the SES website. Article published by permission.