(MENAFN - Arab News) Energy efficiency will top the agenda at the first Saudi Heating, Ventilation and Air-conditioning Conference (SHVAC - 2013), which will play host to regional and international leaders in energy-efficiency on Feb. 11-13 at Al Faisaliah Hotel in Riyadh.
At a press conference yesterday, Saleh Al-Awaji, Deputy Minister of Water and Electricity, said there are currently 6,731,000 energy users in Saudi Arabia, consuming up to 52,000 MW yearly.
He said the number is increasing annually by 9 percent and said that electricity generation capacity is expected to grow from 45 gigawatts (GW) today to 120 GW by 2030, according to the Saudi Electricity and Co-Generation Regulatory Authority.
Al-Awaji noted that the region's first event focused on finding new and sustainable solutions for the heating, ventilation, and air-conditioning (HVAC) industry.
The event is also supported by the Saudi Energy Efficiency Center and Researched (SEECR) and developed by the International Quality Product Center (IQPC).
In response to a question from Arab News, he said implementing high-energy efficient air conditioners in buildings and installing thermal insulators can reduce energy use by more than 50 percent instead of an anticipated 20 percent.
Additionally, this will reduce usage by 40 gigawatt hours per year, resulting in an annual reduction in consumer bills by at least SR 1.9 billion.
"This will save the national economy at least SR 7.67 billion a year," he added, stressing that rapid economic development and population growth burden the kingdom's resources.
The event will be organized by the Ministry and will focus on further improvement in energy-efficient heating, ventilation, air-conditioning and district cooling systems. This includes reducing electricity usage during peak times, implementing thermal insulation in buildings and introducing advanced HVAC solutions especially during the harsh temperatures in the summer months when usage is highest, the official explained.
In this context, the Ministry jointly with Saudi Energy Efficiency Center and Researched (SEECR) have organized a meeting on Saturday to implement the Royal Decree on the mandatory application of thermal insulation in all new residential and commercial buildings.
This will be implemented in Riyadh and other cities will follow, said Al-Awaji.
Outlining the objectives of the conference, Al-Awaji said that it aims to examine every aspect of the industry landscape, now and in the future, including economic trends, specific technologies, environmental impacts, policy and legal frameworks, and the opportunities for investors.
The Saudi will act as an ideal platform for ministerial officials, municipality and utilities' heads, developers, architects, consultants, contractors and technology brands to hold high-level discussions on the development and implementation of more energy efficient systems and technologies across the kingdom.
He continued, "This in turn will have a positive impact on the economic face of the Kingdom and will also be a means to raise awareness amongst Saudi citizens and residents with regards to energy consumption and protection of the country's natural resources."
Rapid economic development in recent decades has placed an unsustainable burden on the Kingdom's domestic energy infrastructure, something that will only worsen as the Kingdom's economic expansion continues to gather pace.
To accommodate this growing demand, the Kingdom has earmarked SAR 500 billion to increase production capacity of its power plants by nearly 90,000 megawatts (MW) in the coming decade.