Riyadh / Emirates Business
One of the world’s foremost voices in pioneering District Cooling technologies believes public and private sector entities across the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia must embrace the next generation of efficient, renewable energy solutions to meet the ambitious economic diversification targets outlined in the Saudi Vision 2030.
To solve the country’s over-reliance on traditional energy sources, the Saudi government has set renewable electricity targets of creating 9.5 gigawatts (GW) by 2022 and 54 GW by 2040, respectively.
George Berbari, the CEO of UAE-based DC Pro Engineering – a global leader in District Energy, Co-generation, Tri-generation and sustainability in Green Building MEP Designs – believes renewable energy targets will only be met if Saudi policy-makers and business leaders understand the ‘vital’ importance of embracing Tri-Generation technologies for power generation, cooling and energy efficiency.
“The Saudi government has been rightly commended for outlining the country’s non-oil dependent future in the Saudi Vision 2030 – a far-reaching reform plan which aims to create a viable, diversified and sustainable national economy,” said Berbari, speaking at the 2nd District Cooling and Tri-Generation Summit in Riyadh.
“At present, the regional energy sector faces many challenges including low efficiency, soaring growth rates and over-dependence on government subsidies. Amid these challenges, Saudi’s renewable energy targets are eminently achievable; even more so if decision-makers embrace the next generation of efficient technologies such as Tri-Generation District Cooling for future projects.
“Equally important as embracing new technologies is seeing them through. There are numerous renewable energy schemes across the region that have stalled, so it will be important to see early and tangible progress to increase confidence in Saudi meeting its renewable targets,” added Berbari.
GCC states have utilised District Cooling and Co-Generation technologies for over a decade and Saudi is among the many regional and international nations exploring and developing Tri-Generation solutions for increased power generation, cooling and efficiency.
Across Asia, Europe and North America, Tri-Generation installations have a proven track record for efficiency and power saving, with some countries already fulfilling between 30-50 per cent of their national power generation needs with combined heat and power (CHP) plants.
“Chilled water and hot water stratified thermal storage is the world’s most viable storage technology,” said Berbari. “This solution reduces construction costs by more than 10 per cent and improves operating efficiency by more than fifteen per cent.”
Berbari believes Saudi’s modest achievements in District Cooling implementation — the Kingdom recorded a meagre four per cent penetration rate in 2015 — will soon be rectified. “Penetration has grown marginally with the total installed and under construction capacity of plants due to reach 2,400,000 tonnes by 2016. It is projected that District Cooling penetration will reach 15 per cent by 2030,” he added.