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Renewables target for 2030 in sight for Saudi Arabia

A solar plant in Uyayna, north of Riyadh. Solar power will contribute to Saudi Arabia's 2030 renewable goal Reuters
A solar plant in Uyayna, north of Riyadh. Solar power will contribute to Saudi Arabia's 2030 renewable goal
  • Aim of 130GW by 2030
  • Sixfold increase at current pace
  • ‘Persistent efforts’ needed

Saudi Arabia will expand its renewable energy output sixfold by 2030 if it continues at its current pace, a survey found this week.

But it will need to add 20GW of capacity annually if it is to reach an ambitious government target laid out last year.

In December the government set a new target of 130GW of renewable capacity by 2030, including onshore and offshore wind, photovoltaic solar energy, solar thermal and biopower fuels such as organic plant and animal material. 

The current figure is around 5GW, GlobalData said in a report on the Saudi energy market released on April 17, adding that this is set to increase to 31.5GW at present rates of development. 

The country will need to add more than 20GW per year to have a chance of reaching the government’s 130GW target, GlobalData said.

“With persistent efforts by the policymakers and strict policy implementation, the kingdom has a good chance of reaching close to its set target. As per the expected trend, the country would add over 20GW every year making its target plausible,” it said.

The government set an initial target in 2016 of deploying 9.5GW of green energy by 2030.

Although it is the world’s biggest oil exporter, Saudi Arabia is trying to become a leader in renewable energy technologies as part of its massive economic transformation plan

Renewable energy capacity in the Middle East has more than doubled in the past decade. Iran and the UAE, rather than Saudi Arabia, have so far been leading the way as regional capacity rose from just under 16GW to more than 35GW between 2014 and 2023.

Meanwhile, Saudi imports of electric vehicles rose sharply in 2023 – to a total of just 779 EVs, despite government hopes that it can become a green economy leader through the manufacture and use of electric cars. 

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