Saudi makes plans to meet strong electricity demand
Kingdom needs energy investments of nearly $90bn to meet growth in demand of 7 per cent per year
Ahram Online and Reuters, Sunday 15 May 2011
Saudi Arabia needs to invest 330 billion riyals (US$88 billion) over the next 10 years as demand for electricity continues to grow 7-8 per cent annually, Saudi Arabia’s Water and Electricity Minister has said.
Abdullah Al-Husayen told an industry conference on Saturday that the water and power sector would need investments of 500bn riyals in the next 10 years, and that Saudi demand for water was also growing more than 7 per cent per year.
"It is expected that the maximum power load will reach 75,000 megawatts in the next 10 years which means the need to invest around 330 billion riyals to boost generation capacity and transmission and distribution networks," Husayen said.
The figure for power investments was higher than the earlier 300bn riyal given by officials as needed to boost capacity to 80 gigawatts from 50 gigawatts, but appears to also include transmission and distribution costs.
"The private sector is expected to contribute roughly 30 per cent of it or the equivalent of 100 billion riyals," Husayen said.
In March, Egypt's electricity and energy ministry announced tentative plans for an underwater power grid connecting Egypt and Saudi and taking advantage of the difference in the two countries' peak hour electricity demand. The project was likely to cost US$1.5 billion.