Search GSSD

Environmental benefits of energy efficiency and renewable energy in Saudi Arabia's electric sector

"This paper provides an evaluation of the potential environmental impacts of electric system expansion in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. Environmental concerns are important to consider because they represent costs to society that are not typically reflected in the price that consumers pay for electricity. In past analyses of electric expansion options in Saudi Arabia, the tendency has been to stress the direct financial costs of expanding electricity generation, transmission, and distribution infrastructure without characterizing the environment impacts of building and operating the expanded electricity system in monetary terms. Emerging national and global environmental concerns, however, suggest that an expansion of the methods traditionally used for electricity resource planning and selection to include environmental considerations would greatly benefit the Kingdom. The criteria by which resource plans are evaluated can readily be broadened to address environmental and other concerns. As part of an illustrative Integrated Resource Planning (IRP) effort undertaken by a team of Saudi utility planners and international consultants, an expanded IRP framework was used to assess the environmental costs and benefits of various approaches to meeting electricity demand projections in Saudi Arabia. The results show that making use of renewable energy and energy efficiency resources to provide energy services to the electricity consumers of Saudi Arabia can provide significant environmental benefits for the Kingdom."
Othman Alnatheer
Energy Research Institute, King Abdulaziz City for Science and Technology, KSA
Industry Focus: 
Saudi Arabia