• Saudi Arabia releases National Transformation Programme under which more focus will be given to natural gas
  • Renewable energy target brought down to 10% from 50% of the total energy mix by 2020
  • Natural gas will be escalated to 70% of the total energy mix from current 50%
  • By 2020, the renewable energy capacity including wind and solar will be increased to 3.45 GW, and by 2023, it will be increased to 9.5 GW

The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia has decided to cut down its renewable energy target. Power generation from renewables to its energy mix is now planned to reach 10% instead of the earlier 50%.

The new Minister of Energy, Industry and Mineral Resources, Khalid Al-Falih announced on June 7, 2016 that his country wants to focus more on natural gas. Bloomberg quoted Al-Falih as saying, “Our energy mix has shifted more toward gas, so the need for high targets from renewable sources isn’t there anymore. The previous target of 50% from renewable sources was an initial target and it was built on high oil prices.” Now, gas and renewables will be increasingly used to power the country, which will let the country use its oil for export.

As of now, gas makes up 50% of the energy mix in Saudi Arabia. The new minister in charge sees gas growing up to 70% in the future. The changes are part of the National Transformation Programme 2020, which is a 268 billion Saudi Riyal ($714 million) plan, and part of the overall Vision 2030. The country is now planning to have 3.45 GW of renewable energy capacity including wind and solar, ‘while also targeting potential sites for a nuclear power plant’, according to newspaper The National. By 2023, the renewable energy capacity will be escalated to 9.5 GW.

Under the country’s National Transformation Programme, Saudi Arabia will implement massive projects to produce more natural gas. The country was earlier planning to have 41 GW of solar power by 2040. There were no details revealed what the new targets mean for solar in particular.

The administration has also earmarked 5.17 billion Saudi Riyals ($137 million) for the King Abdullah City for Atomic and Renewable Energy (Ka-Care) for renewables and nuclear energy.