Saudi Arabia is turning to renewable energy, especially solar, in an effort to move domestic energy consumption away from fossil fuels. With domestic oil consumption rising at a seven percent annual rate (three times the rate of population growth), Saudi Arabia is facing the prospect of domestic consumption eating into the country’s oil exports by 2021 and the country becoming a net oil importer by 2038.
While the use of oil in electricity generation is fairly unique to Saudi Arabia (oil was used to generate 55 percent of electricity in 2012), success could also provide a model for other countries to follow in shifting consumer habits away from the use of fossil fuels in general, especially in the United States as renewable energy policies and plans—such as the Clean Power Plan—are being developed and implemented at the local, state, and national levels.
International Energy Agency: Saudi Arabia: Electricity and Heat for 2012
The Atlantic: Why the Saudis Are Going Solar
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Contributing Author: Brian Ruswinkle
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