Saudi Aramco tackles electricity use with forum

Source: Saudi Aramco
Aramco electricity forum

The message was clear at a recent forum: Saudi Arabia needs to tackle the issue of domestic energy consumption if future generations are to prosper.

"Energy efficiency levels in the Kingdom are among the lowest in the world," HE Ali A. Al-Naimi, the Kingdom’s Minister of Petroleum and Mineral Resources, told delegates Nov. 24 at the second Saudi Electricity Efficiency Forum and Exhibition in Riyadh.

"Seeking to achieve the optimal use of energy opens the way for successful economic opportunities. Saving wasted energy makes additional quantities of oil available. We have to work toward achieving a balanced and sustainable mixture of energy resources, be they traditional or renewable, to lower the use of fossil fuel and provide more natural resources for future generations," Al-Naimi said.

A growing population means growing consumption, and the domestic demand for energy could double by 2030. But alternative energy streams, high-efficiency buildings, appliances and industrial machinery along with careful energy consumption by consumers can help preserve the Kingdom’s fossil fuels for export and revenue.

Water desalination plants use large amounts of energy, and higher-efficiency designs for water plants also are another lynchpin for success.

Saudi Aramco has been actively improving its energy use for more than a decade, and the company is involved in several projects to enhance the Kingdom’s efforts to prepare for the future.

Ahmad O. Al-Khowaiter, acting executive director of Saudi Aramco Power Systems, told delegates about the intensity of energy consumption in the Kingdom, which is one of the highest in the world, with indicators showing that the average per capita consumption is nearly twice the average global consumption, according to international statistics.

He shared with delegates the experience of Saudi Aramco and its ongoing efforts to increase energy efficiency and to find alternative sources of renewable energy.

"Since early 2000, Saudi Aramco began to adopt and manage energy efficiency programs, which aim to reduce energy consumption by 2 percent annually in the company’s facilities," Al-Khowaiter said.

To support this trend and achieve the goal, the company initiated the cogeneration program to raise fuel efficiency and reduce wasted energy. Also, Al-Khowaiter mentioned that the company is continuing expansion in the highly efficient cogen technology by raising the production from 1.8 gigawatts to 4.3 gigawatts by 2016.

He spoke of the company’s efforts with renewable energy. "To support national efforts in the area of usage of renewable energy, Saudi Aramco has started a number of projects relating to solar energy," Al-Khowaiter said. "Last year, the company built the world’s largest solar energy generation unit on a car park roof with a capacity of 10 megawatts. The company also constructed solar energy panels in the King Abdullah Petroleum Studies and Research Center with a generation capacity of 5 megawatts and in King Abdullah University of Science and Technology on the western coast of the Kingdom with a capacity of 2 megawatts.

"With these pilot projects, Saudi Aramco will enable the use of renewable energy widely in the future and help in identifying the most appropriate technologies for the Kingdom," Al-Khowaiter said.

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