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Kingdom eyes nuke energy to boost power production
Published in The Saudi Gazette on 05 - 10 - 2010

JEDDAH: Saudi Arabia will need 40 gigawatts (GW) of base load power by 2030 which could be met by nuclear plants, a senior official from the King Abdullah City for Atomic and Renewable Energy said on Monday.
While the Kingdom sits on some of the world's largest oil and gas reserves, it has struggled to keep up with rapidly rising power demand.
It saw power demand grow by more than 8 percent last year. Total demand was expected to grow to more than 60,000 megawatt (MW) by 2020 from around 50,000 MW current capacity.
“Between summer and winter there is a great gap of almost 40 percent that we can utilize, that is where renewables and nuclear can play a role,” Khalid Suleiman, vice president for renewable energy said at an industry conference.
The Kingdom would need a base load of 40 GW to meet its energy needs, but so far no plan has been set on what energy mix would be used, said Suleiman.
“In 2030, there is a need of at least 40 GW of base load in winter, this can be satisfied by nuclear. And in the summer we would increase it to 70-75 GW,” he added.
The energy city has awarded 14 international and local companies, among which 6 are from Saudi Arabia and 8 from Asia and North America, contracts to build the city spread over a 62 square km in Riyadh, Suleiman said.
Other forms of renewable energy such as concentrated solar power (CSP) systems are also seen to have great potential, said Suleiman.
“There is a great potential for renewables such as CSP and PV.”
Suleiman said a proposed funding mechanism for renewables would include central procurement and feed-in-tariff.
The Kingdom has held talks with international companies to build its first nuclear and renewable energy city, Suleiman further said.
“We have engaged the expertise and thinking of 14 of the best architectural and design houses,” he noted. Of these, six are from Saudi Arabia, and the rest from Asia, Europe and North America, he said.
Saudi Arabia is one of several Gulf Arab countries seeking to develop nuclear energy to meet electricity demand that's rising at about 8 percent a year. The United Arab Emirates awarded a $20 billion contract in December to a group of companies led by Korea Electric Power Corp. to build four nuclear plants, and Kuwait plans to build four reactors by 2022.
Saudi Arabia received bids from UK and US engineering companies due Oct. 2 for a pre-feasibility study of its nuclear power program, the Independent newspaper reported Sunday. A broad plan has already been drawn up by Poeyry Oyj, a Finnish energy consultant, the newspaper said, without disclosing the source of the information.
The Kingdom will have an energy “mix in which nuclear and renewable energies are viably integrated,” Sulaiman said.

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