Op-Ed: What Saudi Arabia’s Bet on Solar Power Means

first_img FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享Bill Richardson for Time magazine:In a bold break from the past, this sun-drenched as well as oil-rich nation is making a big bet on a solar future. This means turning away from wasteful policies and practices, such as producing almost half its electrical power by burning oil and subsidizing energy prices so heavily that Saudis have been buying gasoline for 50 cents a gallon and electricity for about a penny per kilowatt-hour.These policies and cheap energy prices had costly consequences: buildings constructed without insulation, highways clogged with gas-guzzling cars and SUVs, and families running their air conditioners even when they’re on vacation. With air conditioning consuming some 70% of its electricity in 2013, and the Kingdom burning a quarter of the petroleum it produces, costly subsidies and excessive consumption threaten the future of Saudi Arabia’s oil exporting sector as well as the solvency of its government.These are some of the reasons why Saudi Arabia has set the ambitious goal of developing 41 gigawatts of solar capacity by 2032 (that’s 20 times what’s produced by Hoover Dam)—a move that would make it one of the five leading solar producers on the planet. Among other projects, the Kingdom is building its first solar panel factory and another factory producing polysilicon, a material used for manufacturing solar cells, as well as installing rooftop solar facilities in Riyadh.For me—and, I hope, for American policymakers and investors—Saudi Arabia’s shift toward solar energy is an indication of its seriousness about undertaking other transformational changes.Saudi Arabia’s willingness to move beyond oil is a clear sign that the Kingdom has the courage and commitment to embrace new economic and geopolitical realities.Full item: Bill Richardson: What Saudi Arabia’s Bet on Solar Power Means Op-Ed: What Saudi Arabia’s Bet on Solar Power Meanslast_img

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