Saudi Arabia, the world’s oil export leader, has launched its first wind generation farm, as clean energy and climate mitigation continues to gain converts.
Saudi’s renewable’s potential has mainly turned heads with its solar power projects. That will not change. The large number of sunshine days has enabled the middle eastern nation to produce profitable solar power at costs unseen elsewhere in the world. All the same the addition of wind shows expansion on several fronts.
“The successful connection of the project to the electricity transmission grid marks an important milestone for this landmark project in the Kingdom and we look forward to project’s completion in the near future,” Osama Al Othman, country representative of Masdar in Saudi Arabia said.
Dumat Al Jandal at 400 megawatts is also the largest wind farm in the Middle East.
Located approximately 900 kilometres northwest of Riyadh, Dumat Al Jandal has been connected to Saudi Arabia’s energy grid and has produced its first carbon-free megawatt-hours (MWh) of energy. Electricity generated at the facility will be supplied to the Saudi Power Procurement Company, a subsidiary of the Saudi Electricity Company (SEC) under a 20-year power purchase agreement.
Construction on the wind farm began in September 2019 and is spearheaded by a consortium led by EDF Renewables and Masdar. The farm consists of 99 wind turbines from supplier Vestas, each with a hub height of 130m and a rotor diameter of 150m. Each turbine is capable of producing 4.2MW of power, and when complete, the wind farm will power up to 70,000 Saudi households.
“We are thriving to expand renewable energies in KSA and the GCC region to fight together the global climate change, in line with EDF’s CAP 2030 strategy aiming to double its net installed capacity from 28 GW to 60 GW between 2015 and 2030,” said Olivier Bordes, CEO of EDF Renewables Middle East.
Saudi Arabia leads the Organization of Oil Exporting Countries and will continue to press ahead with investment in oil production. The addition of wind shows it is adjusting to a future where carbon reduction will play a larger and larger role. It marks an important step towards Saudi Arabia achieving its goal of producing 50% of the Kingdom’s electricity from renewable energy sources by 2030.
Wind farms are also beneficial for Saudi in the same ways that European countries have found, namely job creation. Its construction created more than 600 local jobs. This is important on a social level as Saudi Arabia seeks jobs for a largely youth populace.