Saudi Arabia seen to miss 2023 renewables target by a mile at current pace

The Sakaka solar power plant in Saudi Arabia. Source: ACWA Power

September 6 (Renewables Now) - Saudi Arabia will miss its 2023 renewables target by nearly 26 GW at the current pace of capacity addition, while the 2030 target shortfall will top 40 GW, according to a recent GlobalData report.

Under the Saudi Arabia Vision 2030, the Kingdom seeks to reach 27.3 GW of renewable power capacity by 2023, including 20 GW of solar photovoltaic (PV) and 7 GW of wind power, and aims at 58.7 GW by 2030, with solar accounting for 40 GW at the end of the decade. However, GlobalData estimates that Saudi Arabia will not even come close to reaching the short-term goal if it continues to deploy just 0.1 GW per year, which is its average for the period 2010-2021. The result will be a shortfall of 25.8 GW in 2023.

These estimates are included in GlobalData’s latest report – ‘Saudi Arabia Power Market Size, Trends, Regulations, Competitive Landscape and Forecast, 2022-2035.’

“The power sector in Saudi Arabia is facing numerous challenges when it comes to renewable power. Its issues range from low transparency to a lack of skilled human resources, an overarching bureaucracy, a high dependence on desalinated water, and low energy efficiency. Enforcement of contracts is also a concern,” said Attaurrahman Ojindaram Saibasan, power analyst at GlobalData. He added that the country is known as a difficult location to start a business in and lacks a robust insolvency resolution system.

The senior analyst also points out that the Saudi government should fast-track renewables development, enable strong policies and provide incentives in support of small-scale installations.

“Further, the institutions and policies that support the development of renewable power are changed too often, and the processes and permits for renewable power plants should be eased. The country could look to extend international partnerships for technology transfer to ensure efficient and reliable renewable power network,” he said further.

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