Saudi Arabia promises to become ‘world’s largest exporter of clean energy’

By Amna Noman, CNN Foreign Correspondent

Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman wants to be the world’s biggest exporter of “pure” renewable energy by 2060, the prince has said, as he promised to tackle climate change by changing the way his country produces and uses oil.

In an interview with Gulf News , Saudi Arabia’s deputy crown prince said his country was on track to meet its greenhouse gas reduction targets set out in the Paris Agreement.

He said he was confident Saudi Arabia could reach its net-zero emissions goal by 2060 if he gets his way. He said the country had already become a net exporter of “clean” energy, with solar power currently producing up to 60% of the country’s electricity.

“Saudi Arabia is the largest producer of energy domestically in our nation,” Prince Mohammed told Gulf News. “Everything we do will be clean. The most important thing we are preparing for is our power. From now until 2060, I want to be the largest producer of pure energy.”

He added that Saudi Arabia would employ advanced engineering to produce a suite of renewable energy technologies.

“We will be pioneering the development of solar, wind, bio-fuel, batteries, storage, waste-to-energy, advanced geothermal and nuclear to name a few,” he said.

“We have a lot of resources. We have the expertise. We have everything we need to produce clean energy for the world.”

Saudi Arabia has set ambitious targets, and announced some ambitious clean energy plans, as well.

The country is aiming to become a renewable energy superpower as it seeks to diversify its sources of energy. In February, Saudi Arabia announced it would be working with Siemens, Hitachi and Veolia to make Saudi Arabia “the world’s premier hub for clean energy,” a government statement said.

The project will build seven future power plants that will take it up to the level of “100% clean energy,” a government spokesperson said.

The announcement comes months after Saudi Arabia’s stock exchange listed shares in Saudi Arabian Oil Co., which is now known as Aramco.

A Saudi solar power plant. Credit: Christian Hartmann/Azerbaijan State Concern

Although there are other markets in the Middle East that are looking to embrace green energy, Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince said it has to take full advantage of its solar and wind resources.

“Saudis are very welcoming, the people have a very special disposition, and they are very supportive of clean energy and sustainability because they are used to trying new things,” he said.

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Prince Mohammed suggested that he believed other Middle Eastern nations could follow in his footsteps if they adopted similar goals.

“If others choose to be like Saudi Arabia, and they choose to be a pioneer of renewable energy, I think it will become a global trend.”

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