A recent Commentary, issued by the King Abdullah Petroleum Studies and Research Center (KAPSARC), discussed the changes in residential electricity consumption during the last four years, in addition to the impacts of energy prices reforms and energy efficiency programs on eliminating electricity consumption in the Kingdom
The Commentary, published by KAPSARC’s researchers Mohammad Aldubyan and Anwar Gasim in the Energy Demand and Efficiency Program, indicated that residential electricity consumption in Saudi Arabia declined by 14 terawatthours (TWh) within four years, as it reached 130 TWh in 2018, while it reached 144 TWh in 2015.
The paper, entitled “What Happened to Residential Electricity Consumption in Saudi Arabia Between 2015 and 2018?” identified four major factors that played a role in the decline in energy consumption in Saudi Arabia. These factors include electricity price reforms, improved energy efficiency programs, a decrease in the non-Saudi population, and a decrease in real income. The center’s analysis excluded the weather, the number of housing units, and the number of appliances used from playing a role in the decline in electricity consumption. Saudi Arabia has witnessed in recent years an increase in temperatures and the number of appliances used.
The researchers pointed out that reforming energy prices is an effective way to manage the rapid growth in domestic energy consumption, promote energy conservation behaviors, encourage greater investment in energy efficiency, reduce environmental damage, and increase government revenues. They emphasized that the Saudi Energy Efficiency Center (SEEC) initiatives, such as imposing mandatory thermal insulation for all new buildings, contributed to a decline in energy consumption.
KAPSARC’s Commentary revealed that the total welfare gains for the Saudi economy, resulting from the 2018 electricity price reform, were 3.8 billion SAR (a 3.4 billion SAR gain in total surplus, plus a 0.4 billion SAR gain due to reduced CO2 emissions and air pollution).
The Commentary is one of the research products launched by KAPSARC in 2019, to provide an opportunity for the center’s experts and researchers to present their opinions and perspectives, and to discuss the most important topics of environmental and energy economics. The center seeks to enhance the global energy sector and address future energy challenges through six varied publications. The research products include: Research Papers, Instant Insights, Commentaries, Data Insights, Peer-Reviewed Papers, and Podcasts.
It is noted that KAPSARC made progress in the list of the best research centers regionally and globally, as it jumped 14 ranks in the ranking of the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) research centers. It ranked 15th out of 103 research centers regionally, and 13th out of 60 research centers globally specializing in energy policy.
This article originally appeared on Saudi Gazette