The World's #1 Renewable Energy Network for News, Information, and Companies.

GE Banking on Saudi Arabia's Shift Toward Solar Power

GE Banking on Saudi Arabia's Shift Toward Solar Power

General Electric Co. predicts demand for its gas turbines will increase in Saudi Arabia, even with the kingdom working to supply a third of power needs from solar energy within the next two decades.

Saudi Arabia already has 500 installed gas turbines from GE that generate about half its electricity, and the Middle Eastern country plans to more than double its power capacity by 2030 to meet utility-demand growth of about 8 percent a year.

“In the short- to medium-term, it’s still a lot of thermal power, so we will support that just like we have been, both by providing advanced technology and servicing it locally,” Steve Bolze, head of GE Power & Water, said in an Oct. 1 interview in Dammam.

The company announced an order for eight gas-turbine generators to expand a power plant in Riyadh the day before, as Saudi Arabia adds 33,000 megawatts of generation capacity in the next eight years alone.

GE, which draws about half of its approximately $10 billion a year in Middle Eastern sales from energy, expects to benefit from climbing solar demand in that period, too.

Saudi Arabia’s central government, seeking to curb crude oil use internally to preserve more of the fuel for export, is seeking $109 billion of investment to build a solar industry.

The target is almost as much as the $136 billion invested worldwide in solar energy last year, according to Bloomberg New Energy Finance. That may boost sales of concentrated solar panels, “which are really the ones that get a lot of attention from our customer base in Saudi Arabia,” Bolze said.

Renewable Energy

Talks are under way with Saudi customers about developing other renewable-energy resources as well, Bolze said. GE said in June 2011 that it expected to double energy revenue from Saudi Arabia in five years by increasing sales of gas turbines, while helping the country curb the amount of oil needed locally to produce electricity.

Renewables are the second-largest business at GE Energy, and gas turbines are the biggest. The Fairfield, Connecticut-based company introduced a new line of gas-powered turbines in September that are designed to run alongside renewable-energy installations, powering up when the sun isn’t shining or the wind isn’t blowing.

Saudi Electricity Co. is one of the first clients for the new technology, Bolze said. The push to develop renewables would help curb the kingdom’s use of heavy fuel oil, which was about 65 percent of that of the U.S. this year and 41 percent of that of China, according to government figures on the Joint Organisations Data Initiative website.

Saudi Arabia may need to import oil by 2030 if the country’s domestic crude use continues to outpace gains in production, New York-based Citigroup said in a September report. The kingdom depends on oil for 86 percent of its annual revenue.

Copyright 2012 Bloomberg.

Lead image: Solar panels provide the electric power for the monitoring equipment on a pipeline in the texas panhandle via Shutterstock



EU Raises Concern That UK, France Won't Meet Renewables Goal

Alex Morales and Ewa Krukowska, Bloomberg

The European Commission raised concern that the U.K. and France may not meet their 2020 renewable energy targets, saying the two countries should examine whether they’re doing enough to reach the goals.

Solar panels and wind turbines

SunEdison Raises $403 Million for TerraForm to Buy Wind, Solar

Christopher Martin, Bloomberg SunEdison Inc., the best-performing U.S. solar company, raised $402.5 million to help buy renewable energy plants in emerging markets, and then purchased more than 2 gigawatts of wind and solar projects in Central America ...

C&I Solar Sector Could See Huge Growth in Next Few Years

Andrew Burger, Contributor Investments in commercial and industrial (C&I) solar energy projects (50kW-2MW) by U.S. corporations is poised to soar, according to a new market research report commissioned by Santa Barbara-based Wiser Capital. More ...
Solar plant and wind turbines

Is Utility-Scale Solar Growth Economically Viable?

Philip Wolfe, Wiki-Solar The recent growth in utility-scale solar has been explosive in relative terms. Because the start point was so low however, this still represents a small proportion of global electricity generation — about one third of 1 pe...


Volume 18, Issue 3


To register for our free
e-Newsletters, subscribe today:



ImagineSolar | Advanced Lab Day: Solar PV Design & Installation (Au...

Advanced Lab Day: System Design & Installation  $195 – 8 ...

ImagineSolar | Advanced Online: Solar PV System Design & NABCEP Exa...

Advanced Online Solar PV System Design & NABCEP Exam Prep $695 &ndas...

Bankability and Support Mechanisms for Renewable Energy Projects

Setting appropriate legal and regulatory frameworks is essential for the...


Solar Energy Vs. Wind Energy: How Do They Compare?

Solar energy and wind energy are both excellent alternative sources of p...

Introducing the newest update to the LSX Module System: LSX Rail 1.1

LSX Rail 1.1 still has the same features and benefits you've c...

Looking Beyond The "Green Agenda"

You can save a lot of time searching for new prospects for your efficien...


Tweet the Editors! @megcichon @jennrunyon


Renewable Energy: Subscribe Now

Solar Energy: Subscribe Now

Wind Energy: Subscribe Now

Geothermal Energy: Subscribe Now

Bioenergy: Subscribe Now