The Middle East has long been a producer of oil and gas, with large countries such as the UAE and Saudi Arabia building significant wealth and prosperity due to the natural resource. With the increased wealth of the nations and their respective population, it would ultimately lead to an increase in energy consumption, due to the higher spending power of the population and businesses.
However, Khalid al-Falih, Saudi's energy minister, revealed that as a result of the hike in gasoline and electricity prices a year ago, Saudi Arabia expects domestic energy consumption to fall by 1.5 million to 2 million barrels of oil equivalent per day by 2030.
"Over the coming decade, liquids burning in our utilities will be virtually eliminated, while the share of gas capacity will grow from around 50 percent currently to nearly 70 percent, which will be the highest among the G20."Khalid al-Falih, energy minister of Saudi Arabia
Mr al-Falih also mentioned at an energy industry event in Abu Dhabi, that Saudi Arabia planned to start exploring and investing in renewable energy projects, which would provide the Kingdom with an alternative source of energy and provide the country with diversification away from its usual energy supplies.
The country has plans to issue tenders for at least 12 renewable energy projects in 2019, which is part of a nationwide push diversify its energy mix.
Al-Falih added that the Kingdom aims to develop 59 gigawatts (GW) of renewable energy capacity in the next 10 years, including 40 GW of photovoltaic solar power, 3GW of concentrated solar power and 16 GW of wind power.
In order to realise these visions, they will work with the Kingdom's sovereign wealth fund and the Public Investment Fund (PIF); they are also looking to make a deal with Japan's Softbank to develop their solar power capabilities.
He added, "The PIF and its selected partners will develop 70 percent of the total renewable energy capacity with the objective of accelerating the localisation of our manufacturing capability," while the ministry would tender for 30 percent.