Saudi Arabia has Nuclear Energy in Sight

Brian Hicks

Written By Brian Hicks

Posted October 4, 2010

As power demands continue to rise, Saudi Arabia has struggled to maintain a high head during the petrodollar driven Gulf-wide economic boom.

The leader in oil exporting will need to find a source for 40 gigawatts (GW) of base load power by 2030. But skepticism arises when the term nuclear energy comes into the equation.

With so much oil, one can only wonder why the Saudis have nuclear energy plans in sight. They saw power demand grow by 8 percent last year, and total demand is expected to hit 60,000 megawatts (MW) by 2020.

Now we can really ponder… are the Saudis running out of the product that has posed as the nucleus of their economy?

Khalid Suleiman, VP for renewable energy says that in 2030 “…there is a need for 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.”

Suleiman further commented that there are other sources of renewable energy such as concentrated solar power (CSP) that have shown great potential. This makes me wonder if they are looking for a supplement to their own consumption that is not oil.

Let’s be real, the less oil they use, the more they can sell.  Though it’s hard to imagine their suppl diminishing, the looming decline of Saudi oil will have serious investment consequences for investors all over the globe.

-Michael Boytano

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