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MENAFN - Arab News - 14/11/2012

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(MENAFN - Arab News) The Kingdom's electricity generating stations will replace diesel and gas fuels with nuclear and renewable energy over the next 10 years, a top official said.

"The Kingdom is moving toward adopting nuclear and renewable energy including solar and wind energy as the global studies have confirmed their profitability, and hopes to achieve the transition in the next 10 years," said Abdullah Al-Shahri, governor of the Electricity and Co-Generation Regulatory Authority (ECRA).

Al-Shahri appealed to the electricity consumers to adopt the building code and installation of quality electrical equipment as a means to cut electricity bills by half.

"Currently the Saudi Arabian Standards Organization and the Customs Department are making joint efforts to lay down the required specifications for the electrical appliances to be imported to the Kingdom and will start implementing them from next year," he said.

The Shoura Council has asked the Water and Electricity Ministry to use solar energy in developmental activities in the Kingdom.

Al-Shahri also said steps are currently being taken to remove overhead high tension cables passing through major cities beginning from Riyadh and will be removed from other cities and towns later. "The reason for the delay in removing the cables is the huge replacement cost besides that they are mostly used in remote places," he said.

The governor said 80 percent of the Kingdom's power-generating companies are under the Saudi Electricity Company (SEC).

Studies are underway for a comprehensive SEC restructuring designed to lead to an eventual liberalization and transition to a competitive electricity market.

The study also involves dividing SEC's power generation business into similar companies that will compete with each other and SEC's independent power providers (IPPs). The SEC will also set up a single buyer of electricity from the many electricity generation companies and the IPPs, according to an earlier report.

A liberalized power sector is expected to help ease increasing electricity demand in the Kingdom which will is projected to reach higher than 120,000 MW in 2030.

SEC is one of the largest utility companies in the GCC, both by market capitalization and in terms of its installed power generation capacity.


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