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Mecca to become a Mecca for Solar Energy

Mecca Seeks to Lead Saudi Arabia’s Solar Energy Expansion, Bloomberg News
By Wael Mahdi  September 23, 2012 Mecca, which hosts millions of pilgrims a year visiting Islam’s most holy shrine, is working toward becoming the first city in Saudi Arabia
to operate a utility-scale plant generating electricity from renewables.

The city on Jan. 5 plans to select from a group of at least 20 bidders
competing to build and operate facilities producing 385 gigawatt-hours
per year of power including 100 megawatts of solar capacity, said
Mayor Osama al-Bar.

“No city in Saudi Arabia owns power-generation assets, and we want to
be first city that owns power plants and hopefully the first in the
Muslim world,” al-Bar said in an interview on Sept. 16 in the nation’s
capital, Riyadh.

The plans are the latest indication that the desert kingdom is
stepping up efforts to diversify its sources of energy as economic and
population growth threaten to erode Saudi Arabia’s status as the
world’s biggest oil exporter. The central government is seeking $109
billion of investment for building a solar industry, aiming to get a
third of Saudi Arabia’s power from the sun by 2032 compared with
almost none now. The target is almost as much as the $136 billion
invested worldwide in solar energy last year, according to Bloomberg
New Energy Finance.

Mecca’s Influence
Mecca’s program complements that work and may provide a guide for
other Middle Eastern cities on how to adopt the technology, said Adnan
Amin, director general of the International Renewable Energy Agency.

“The project is very visionary as Mecca has special significance
around the world,” Amin, from the Abu Dhabi-based industry
organization, said in an interview in London on Sept. 18. “The case is
very simple. In 25 years, they (Saudi Arabia) could become net
importers of energy. That makes renewables comparatively cheaper.”….


September 24, 2012 - Posted by | renewable, Saudi Arabia

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