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

RELATED ARTICLES

Gavel

Three Chinese Solar Panel Groups Lose Exemption From EU Tariffs

Jonathan Stearns, Bloomberg

The European Union applied tariffs on three groups of Chinese solar-panel makers that have been exempted from the levies, potentially reviving tensions in the EU’s biggest trade case of its kind.

Stock graph

Green Bonds Sprout as Wall Street Embraces Renewable Energy Debt

Cordell Eddings, Bloomberg Bonds backing clean energy and other sustainable initiatives are booming. Investors are snapping up green bonds at the fastest pace on record, as big banks like Morgan Stanley and Bank of America Corp. pile in with new iss...
Loss and profit binders

Yingli May Return to Profitability in Second Half, CFO Says

Justin Doom, Bloomberg

Yingli Green Energy Holding Co., a Chinese solar manufacturer that hasn’t reported income in almost four years, may return to profitability in the second half, the chief financial officer said.

Students and solar powered cars with energy storage

Rain or Shine, Students Keep Their Solar Race Cars Going with Energy Storage

Wayne Hicks, NREL Teegan and Kira Cordova love the original Star Trek TV series. That much is obvious. The eighth-grade twins from Ken Caryl Middle School in Littleton are wearing the uniform tunics from the 1960s show — Teegan's in red and...

CURRENT MAGAZINE ISSUE

Volume 18, Issue 3
1505REW_C11

STAY CONNECTED

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

FEATURED PARTNERS



EVENTS

PV-301: Advanced PV Design & Installation

This highly desirable and advanced course is intended for the profession...

PV-401: Advanced Field Training

Real world on the job solar installation, training, and experience is th...

PV-201: Introduction to PV Design & Installation

PV 201 Introduction to PV Design & Installation is simply the best i...

COMPANY BLOGS

Up to Bat – Why More Solar Companies Are Thinking Seriously About A...

Given the growth of the solar industry in the U.S., with 2014 year-...

How to Reduce Soft Costs With a Critical Path Map

For solar installers, soft costs are a fact of life. However, they don&r...

Community Solar Solutions Appeal to Eco-Conscious Millennials

Tech savvy and convenience oriented, the millennial generation is the mo...

SOCIAL ACTIVITY

Tweet the Editors! @megcichon @jennrunyon

NEWSLETTERS

Renewable Energy: Subscribe Now

Solar Energy: Subscribe Now

Wind Energy: Subscribe Now

Geothermal Energy: Subscribe Now

Bioenergy: Subscribe Now  

 

FEATURED PARTNERS