Wednesday, 17 October, 2018

SoftBank to invest in solar power project in Saudi Arabia

SoftBank probes insider role in star recruit's 2016 exit SoftBank's Son says to create world's biggest solar power company in Saudi Arabia
Elsie Buchanan | 29 March, 2018, 02:09

Adding 200 GW would create enormous excess capacity that could be exported to neighbours or used by industry, although the kingdom will still require other forms of power generation for night-time back-up. The SoftBank Vision Fund has already invested in companies in the U.S., Europe, and India.

Vision Fund also plans investing 10 billion Dollars in state-controlled Saudi Electricity as part of efforts to diversify electricity production with renewable energy and solar power.

Speaking at the launch in New York, SoftBank founder Masayoshi Son said the project will help Saudi Arabia to get rid off its dependence on oil for electricity and create 100,000 job opportunities.

The news comes just as Saudia Arabia, home to the world's largest petroleum reserves, is also pursuing the construction of a pair of nuclear power reactors. "The kingdom has great sunshine, great size of available land and great engineers, great labor, but most importantly, the best and greatest vision", Son told reporters. It is also expected to save the kingdom $40 billion by obviating the need to burn domestically produced oil to generate power.

"SoftBank seeks investment and Saudi needs energy, so it may make sense to sort the financing out in a large block and then separately hammer out the phases and the technical details", said Jenny Chase, head of solar analysis at BNEF.

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From past year, Softbank is planning to work on several projects with Saudi Arabia which includes developing a new business "Neom" and industrial city in the country. The electricity demand in the country has grown by 9% a year since 2000.

Industry estimates say around 300,000 to 800,000 barrels per day of crude oil are burned for Saudi power generation.

And with a growing population, Saudi Arabia will need more electric power for water desalination plants. Stay tuned for much more on this coming very soon. And by burning oil and gas for electricity, it has one of the largest per capita rates of greenhouse gas emissions in the world, which could shrink if the country turns toward renewables.

The project is so big that it's expected to take more than a decade to finish.

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