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Saudi Arabia to Expand Renewable Energy Sources for Desalination

RIYADH, Saudi Arabia

Saudi Arabia’s King Abdullah City for Atomic and Renewable Energy has launched a new project to identify potential renewable energy sources nationwide in order to maximize future production, city officials said in a statement issued earlier this week.

Saudi Arabia is expected to build a number of solar and wind power plants in the next few years. The project will assess the potential of parts of the country where renewable energy plants might be built to help power desalination.

“Around 70 monitoring stations will be established to measure the availability of renewable energy sources in all corners of the kingdom,” according to one source.

An atlas of renewable energy sources will be prepared by the end of this year, to provide a better database for energy corporations, universities and research institutions.

The project will be carried out in cooperation with the Saline Water Conversion Corporation (SWCC) and Saudi Electricity Company, as well as other concerned government bodies.

Saudi Arabia has been developing solar technologies at a number of desalination plants in order to reduce the amount of fuel consumed. Japanese government agencies and private companies are currently developing solar desalination technologies tailored to the kingdom.

The SWCC operates 36 desalination plants on the Persian Gulf and the Red Sea, most of which use power-intensive traditional desalination technologies and are fueled by oil and natural gas. It currently produces 3.3 million cubic meters of desalinated water daily.

Meanwhile, Minister of Water and Electricity Abdullah al Hussain on July 9 rolled out 18 new drinking water and sanitation projects worth $67.5 million USD. The projects include wastewater reuse; well-drilling in the capital, Riyadh; construction of drinking water reservoirs, sewage pipelines and pumping stations in Madinah; replacing old mains in al Qatif, in the Eastern Province; and digging 12 wells in al Qasim.