(MENAFN - Arab News) Ventilation and air-conditioning has been identified as the highest energy consumer in Saudi Arabia with the summer months showing extraordinary high usage.
"Air-conditioned buildings account for 70 percent of power consumption during this period," said Minister of Water and Electricity (MOW&E) Abdullah Al Hussein citing a study.
The minister spoke at the opening of the first Saudi Heating, Ventilation and Air-conditioning Conference (SHVAC-2013) that kicked off here yesterday at Al-Faisaliah Hotel.
"This is the cause of the great disparity between peak loads during the short duration of the summer and the rest of the months of the year when it exceeds the peak load in summer by more than 100 percent in mild weather condition," said the Minister Al Hussein.
The event was attended by Prince Abdulaziz bin Salman, assistant minister of petroleum and mineral resources for petroleum affairs; Tawfiq Al-Rabiah, minister of commerce and industry; and Mohammed Al-Suwayel, president of King Abdulaziz City for Science and Technology in addition to regional and international leaders in energy-efficiency.
Stressing the need for a tangible solution to the problem, Al Hussein said, "This is challenging in terms of operational and financial burdens, because to provide electricity for such a short time, MOW&E has to build power plants of 5000 MW capacity to meet the summer needs."
As a result, the ministry, jointly with Saudi Energy Efficiency Center and Researches (SEECR), will make thermal insulation mandatory in all new residential and commercial buildings in Riyadh followed by other cities.
Any building under construction not complying with the new Royal decree will not receive electric connection, the minister said.
This move will save 50 percent of the air-conditioning load and by using AC with high-efficiency will save around 40 GW in a year. Such a huge saving will bring down the electricity bill to around SR two billions annually, According to Al Hussein.
This will save for the national economy at least SR 7 billion annually. It will also lead to a decrease in fuel consumption by SR 30 million barrel in a year, he added. He said this also will lead to the decrease of fuel consumption to around 30 million barrel in a year.
Prince Abdulaziz said that the establishment of SEECR reflects the initiative to control the increasing consumption of energy. He said that one of the center's main focus is to use the split AC. He said there are 12 percent growth sales of this type of AC every year.
Rapid economic development in recent decades has placed an unsustainable burden on the Kingdom's domestic energy infrastructure. It is expected to worsen as the Kingdom's economic expansion continues to gather pace.
To accommodate this growing demand, the Kingdom has earmarked SR 500 billion to increase production capacity of its power plants by nearly 90,000 megawatts (MW) in the coming decade.