JEDDAH, Saudi Arabia, Dec 3 (Reuters) - Saudi Arabia will
need to invest over 500 billion riyals ($133 billion) over the
next 10 years to meet rapidly rising power demand, Saudi Water
and Electricity Minister Abdullah al-Hussayen said late on
The country with the biggest Arab economy and a population
that has ballooned to over 27 million faces sporadic power cuts
in summer when demand for air conditioning surges.
"There is a need for projects over the next 10 years with
investments that exceed 500 billion riyals," Hussayen said at a
water and power forum.
Power consumption rose by 9 percent in the first half of
2012 from last year's figure, he said, adding that peak demand
in the summer was up 7 percent, or an increase of 3,500
In May, Saudi Arabia's deputy electricity minister revised
up estimates for the amount of investment needed in power
projects over the next decade to 400 billion riyals from 300
Saudi Arabia plans to generate some electricity from solar
and nuclear plants and is also considering wind, waste and
geothermal energy sources as it seeks to reduce reliance on oil
How much of the kingdom's future energy mix will be met by
each technology may be agreed in the first quarter of next year,
Khalid al-Sulaiman, vice president for renewable energy at King
Abdullah City for Atomic and Renewable Energy, told the forum.
(Reporting by Asma Alsharif; editing by Daniel Fineren and Jane