Saudi Arabia has a rapidly growing population that places an ever-increasing pressure on the country’s non-renewable hydrocarbon resources. A study concluded that alternative, sustainable and reliable sources of energy for generating power and producing desalinated water should be introduced to reduce consumption of the nation’s fossil fuel reserves. It was also determined that a balanced energy mix of renewable and conventional energy is strategically important to Saudi Arabia’s long-term prosperity, energy security, and its leading position in the global energy market.
On April 2016, as part of the National Transformation Program (NTP 2030), a new and more realistic renewable energy target was announced: 3,45GW by 2020 and 9,5 GW by 2023. This plan was confirmed on January 2017 by H.E. Khalid Al-Falihe, minister of the Ministry of Energy, Industry and Mineral resources (MEIM). MEIM has created a new office, namely Renewable Energy Program Development Office (REPDO), to lead the renewable energy program. REPDO brings together the various energy stakeholders in the Kingdom such as King Abdallah City for Atomic and Renewable Energy (KACARE), Electricity and Cogeneration Regulatory Authority (ECRA), Saudi Aramco and the Saudi Electricity Company (SEC).
On February 2017, REPDO issued the first round of the National Renewable Energy Programme which included two projects, 300MW of PV and 400MW of wind. This tender is open to local and international IPPs interested in a Build Own and Operate (BOO) business model, and sets the beginning of a realistic and great renewable energy opportunity.