The King Abdullah Petroleum Studies and Research Center (KAPSARC), in a workshop held under its strategic partnership with the Saudi Electricity Company (SEC), analyzed local and global factors that will affect the electricity sector and energy markets in Saudi Arabia. The center revealed, in the workshop that recently published its findings and shared with SG Newspaper, that it is in the process of building a detailed model for the power system in the Kingdom, in partnership with SEC. The new system seeks to accomplish three goals: to support the Kingdom in the long-term capacity planning, to address the reliability challenges brought by renewable energy adoption, and to assess the impact of energy price reform on electricity generation costs.
The analysis identified six local factors that play a role in the Kingdom’s energy markets, such as adding nuclear power to the energy mix, increasing gas supply, energy price reform, industry electrification, distributed generation deployment, and energy efficiency. This is in addition to three global factors, such as oil prices, climate-related regulations, and energy dynamics.
In this workshop, the center noted that the Kingdom was able to save 1.5 terawatt hours (TWh) of electricity annually, by upgrading more than 1 million streetlights and 123,000 chillers, emphasizing that more energy could be saved in the Kingdom if more costly projects were implemented.
The center also indicated, in this workshop titled “Changing Energy Supply Economics in Saudi Arabia in the Context of Global Transitions,” that the Kingdom’s energy demand in the near term will be driven by three areas: industry, water, and energy efficiency. The industrial sector accounts for 20% of national electricity consumption. The chemical industry, such as fertilizers, comes first in energy use, followed by basic metals, then non-metallic products, and finally fabricated metals.
The workshop expected an increased desire to use renewables if the installation costs fall due to the fact that solar and wind power are the least expensive electricity generation technologies. In addition, the water sector will play a central role in energy consumption in Saudi Arabia over the next decade, as the Saudi Water Partnership Company (SWPC) plans to increase its supply capacity from 8 million cubic meters per day (MMcm/d) to around 13 MMcm/d by 2030.
It is noteworthy that KAPSARC has various partnerships with a number of international and regional entities, government ministries and think tanks. The center constantly organizes – according to these partnerships – several workshops to discuss the latest developments and topics in various fields, including: energy, economics, environment and transport. These workshops are an opportunity to share international experiences between the participating parties, to develop the best appropriate solutions to increase energy supply, to reduce energy consumption, and to access energy security, as the center publishes the summary and recommendations of these workshops on KAPSARC’s website.
It is also noted that KAPSARC announced last February its progress in the list of the best research centers regionally and globally. KAPSARC jumped 14 ranks in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) research centers to rank 15th among 103 research centers in the region, and ranked globally 13th out of 60 research centers specializing in energy policies and resources.
This article originally appeared on Saudi Gazette