• Primary Program Energy Systems and Macroeconomics
  • Research Interests Modeling energy systems, energy use and efficiency in Saudi Arabia, and the interdisciplinary connection between energy economics and engineering

Biography

Walid is a senior research associate developing energy systems models.

Publications

See all Walid’s publications
  • Book/book chapter
  • Discussion papers
  • Methodology paper
  • Commentary
  • KAPSARC journal articles
  • External journal articles
The Economics of Renewable Energy in the Gulf

The Economics of Renewable Energy in the Gulf

The Cooperation Council for the Arab States of the Gulf (GCC) has been at the epicenter of global energy markets because of its substantial endowment of hydrocarbons. Yet countries in the region have also stated their intent to be global leaders in renewable energy. This collection explores the drivers for the widespread adoption of renewable energy around the GCC, the need for renewable energy and the policy-economic factors that can create success. https://www.routledge.com/The-Economics-of-Renewable-Energy-in-the-Gulf-1st-Edition/Akhonbay/p/book/9781138351905 Contributors: Ghada Abdulla, Hisham Akhonbay, Abdullah Al-Badi, Walid Ali, Odeh Al-Jayyousi, Imtenan Al-Mubarak, Maha Alsabbagh, Omar Al-Ubaydli, Moiz Bohra, Sylvain Cote, Nasreddine El-Dehaibi, Amro Elshurafa, Bassam Fattouh, Stephen Gitonga, Steve Griffiths, Marwan Khraisheh, Walid Matar, Daniah Orkoubi, Rahmatallah Poudineh, Shreekar Pradhan, Antonio Sanfilippo, Anupama Sen, Marilyn Smith, David Wogan, Lama Yaseen, Karen Young.    

October 17, 2018
Viability of Seasonal Natural Gas Storage in the Saudi Energy System

Viability of Seasonal Natural Gas Storage in the Saudi Energy System

Saudi Arabia expects to double its natural gas production within the next decade. This increased domestic supply is expected to meet the demand for gas from Saudi Arabia’s industrial development and, most importantly, to displace liquid fuels in its electricity sector. Given the strong seasonal variability of the latter, underground gas storage (UGS) can help ensure the availability of gas to meet peak power load.

December 8, 2019
Households’ Demand Response to Changes in Electricity Prices: A Microeconomic-Physical Approach

Households’ Demand Response to Changes in Electricity Prices: A Microeconomic-Physical Approach

Energy economists are interested in how a change in electricity prices prompts a response by way of end-user power demand. It is difficult to estimate price elasticities statistically if historical prices are low and change infrequently, especially in the short run. This paper extends a previous analysis by Matar (2018) that explored the merger of a residential building energy model and a utility maximization component by incorporating more demand-reducing measures within a utility-maximization framework for households. The framework is informed by the physical equations that govern how electricity is consumed. The measures considered are: Independently adjusting the thermostat set-point in the spring and fall, and during the peak and off-peak hours in the summer. Turning off lights. Switching off consumer electronics. The study calibrates the physical component for a dwelling in Saudi Arabia. Domestic electricity tariffs in the – tiered – progressive pricing structure were partially raised in 2018. In addition to those increases, the response to other electricity pricing schemes is analyzed: time-of-use and real-time prices. The paper shows that for a household with a low preference for electricity, the 2018 price increases do warrant an adjustment in indoor temperature in the hot summer months and lower electricity use for consumer electronics. For a typical dwelling in Saudi Arabia, the response measure that is most exercised is thermostat set-point adjustments. A subdued response is found for households that have adopted higher energy efficiency or have a high preference for electricity.

February 14, 2019
Reforming Industrial Fuel and Residential Electricity Prices in Saudi Arabia

Reforming Industrial Fuel and Residential Electricity Prices in Saudi Arabia

The Saudi electricity sector buys fuel and sells electricity at prices administered by the government. In this analysis, we assume that fuel prices are deregulated — priced at their marginal values or international equivalents — and use a long-term static version of the KAPSARC Energy Model (KEM) for Saudi Arabia. This allows a better understanding of the economic effects of energy price reform packages by providing illustrative estimates of their impacts. We do not propose a specific package of reforms, but seek to show the different channels by which the Saudi economy can benefit. We expand on previous KAPSARC analyses by combining the price reform of fuels used in power plants with the implementation of alternative electricity pricing schemes for households. In particular, we examine the differences between ‘lifeline’, average-cost and marginal-cost electricity pricing policies for residential customers.

July 29, 2017
Adding Photovoltaics to the Saudi Power System: What are the Costs of Intermittency?

Adding Photovoltaics to the Saudi Power System: What are the Costs of Intermittency?

Intermittent generation from wind or photovoltaics (PV) imposes a cost on the power systems in which they are deployed. These costs vary regionally due to different fuel costs and ramping flexibility of existing grid capacities. With 2015 as a reference year, we examine the costs of PV intermittency and costs of integration to power utilities in Saudi Arabia, using a least-cost approach for the power utilities. The operational facets of PV integration to grid operators will be more pronounced with higher PV penetration, so, to focus on system operation, we exclude the capital costs. The excess of the price paid to new PV generators over the current average consumer tariff would also have to be covered by the utility, and will depend on the details of the power purchase contracts.

November 28, 2016
The Responsiveness of Fuel Demand to Gasoline Price in Passenger Transport

The Responsiveness of Fuel Demand to Gasoline Price in Passenger Transport

Empirical estimates of fuel demand changes to price variation are based on historical consumption and prices, and can be applied as a single point estimate to a wide range of price movements. However, if fuel prices are set outside the boundaries of historical changes, policymakers may be concerned as to the validity of the empirically assessed price elasticity. We have developed a transport model to provide a techno-economic estimate of the price elasticity of fuel demand. It incorporates consumers’ choices as a result of several factors, including fuel substitutes, available transport modes, income, value of time and magnitude of price change.

July 26, 2016
The Prospects for Coal-fired Power Generation in Saudi Arabia

The Prospects for Coal-fired Power Generation in Saudi Arabia

Almost all of Saudi Arabia’s electric power generation is fueled by oil and gas. Plans for future capacity envisage nuclear and renewables supplementing this mix and freeing up oil for other revenue-generating opportunities. Coal-fired generation has been promoted in some Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries but not, so far, in the Kingdom.

December 24, 2015
Efficient Industrial Energy Use: The First Step in Transitioning Saudi Arabia’s Energy Mix

Efficient Industrial Energy Use: The First Step in Transitioning Saudi Arabia’s Energy Mix

External observers worry about whether Saudi domestic consumption of oil will crowd out exports. This is based on simple extrapolations which suggest that in a little more than 20 years Saudi Arabia may become a net importer of hydrocarbon fuels. However, our research does not support this. Based on the “baseline scenario” macroeconomic assumptions in Oxford Economics’ global economic and industry models, we project Saudi Arabia’s energy balances until 2032 using the KAPSARC Energy Model (KEM).

June 7, 2015
Modeling residential electricity consumption and efficiency within an economic framework

Modeling residential electricity consumption and efficiency within an economic framework

Many countries have promoted energy efficiency and conservation in the residential sector due to its significant contribution to total demand. This paper discusses some of the wider implications of more efficient households on the overall energy system. Various efficiency options, such as thermal insulation or weather stripping, have unique effects on the power load demand throughout the day. The load-shifting potential of these measures is highly dependent on regional climate and residence characteristics. Moreover, the operational decisions made by the power sector to meet demand are contingent on the path by which load evolves during the day. Quantifying the intra-day effects of higher efficiency on total load is therefore useful in assessing the changes in equipment and fuel use decisions made by the utilities.

March 6, 2015
Lowering Saudi Arabia’s fuel consumption and energy system costs without increasing end consumer prices

Lowering Saudi Arabia’s fuel consumption and energy system costs without increasing end consumer prices

Saudi Arabia aims to reduce the growth of its energy demand. This paper outlines an approach that could help the country to reduce substantively its current fuel consumption and could result in a net economic gain without increasing current end consumer prices and while maintaining positive utility sector net cash flows. Using a new multi-sector equilibrium model developed by KAPSARC (the KAPSARC Energy Model or KEM), we estimate the magnitudes of the potential economic gains that different policies would generate. Our long term static version of the model reveals that an annual economic gain exceeding 23 billion USD in 2011, or almost 5% of that year’s GDP, could have been achieved while the water and power sectors continue to live within their cash flows. Our approach—which introduces investment credits for solar and nuclear and allows more natural gas consumption in the power sector—achieves almost all the benefit of raising inter-sector transfer prices for fuels to world market equivalences, but only moderately increases current transfer prices. Importantly, this gain does not require an increase in consumer prices of electricity or water.

March 7, 2014
Electricity Transmission Formulations in Multi-Sector National Planning Models: An illustration using the KAPSARC Energy Model

Electricity Transmission Formulations in Multi-Sector National Planning Models: An illustration using the KAPSARC Energy Model

The purpose of this study is to assess policy-relevant effects of incorporating a more proper representation of electricity transmission in multi-sector national policy models. This goal is achieved by employing the KAPSARC Energy Model (KEM), which is the first publicly available large-scale energy policy model for Saudi Arabia. Past studies using KEM have examined industrial pricing policy, residential energy efficiency, the prospects of power generation technologies and residential electricity pricing. These studies have shown that under certain fuel pricing scenarios, significant renewable energy capacity is deployed.

November 5, 2017
KAPSARC’s Contribution to Evaluating the Impact of Price Controls

KAPSARC’s Contribution to Evaluating the Impact of Price Controls

The European Journal of Operational Research has just published a paper, “Measuring the effects of price controls using mixed complementarity models” (2019). It detailed a series of innovative modeling approaches developed by KAPSARC researchers over the last six years. The models were used to study the effects of administered energy prices in Saudi Arabia and assess the potential benefits of price reform. This commentary gives an overview of that research, including its motivation, coverage and findings.

September 1, 2019
Adding Solar PV to the Saudi Power System: What is the Cost of Intermittency?

Adding Solar PV to the Saudi Power System: What is the Cost of Intermittency?

Energy Transitions

2017

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