Wind power represents a huge untapped source of energy for Saudi Arabia, according to the CEO of Masdar.
Saudi Arabia’s Red Sea coast enjoys attractive wind resources similar to parts of Jordan where the Abu Dhabi-based company has also helped to develop wind power, said Mohamed Jameel Al-Ramahi, CEO of Masdar, in an interview on the sidelines of a World Economic Forum event in Dubai.
But the renewable energy source may be more challenging to develop in Masdar’s UAE home, where it has also been assessing its potential.
“In the UAE, it is not feasible,” he said. “We do have certain pockets of wind corridors where we could use new technology – for example now you have slow wind turbines for slow wind speeds –that could potentially be OK for these regions – but still the pricing is not right.’ Saudi Arabia offers considerably more potential for the development of wind energy. “In the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, wind will play a very important role. It is blessed with a lot of resources – not only solar,’ he said.
Masdar is the region’s largest exporter of renewable energy – operating utility-scale projects as well and a player in everything from off-grid power generation in Africa to autonomous vehicles.
Al-Ramahi said that Masdar was actively targeting projects in the Kingdom, which has started to invest heavily in renewable energy as part of a broader economic reform plan aimed at reducing its reliance on oil.
The Kingdom wants to develop about 9.5 gigawatts of renewable energy by 2023 – with solar power accounting for the lion’s share.
Masdar has invested about 10 billion dirhams ($2.7 billion) in projects worldwide.