07:11 GMT +313 December 2019
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    Khaled al Otaiby, an official of the Saudi oil company Aramco watches progress at a rig at the al-Howta oil field.

    Plan B: Is Saudi Arabia Shifting From Oil to Renewable Energy?

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    Saudi Arabia is considering options to shift from fossil fuels both as the main source of income and main energy source.

    Riyadh is focusing on renewable energy sources such as solar power in preparation for a post-oil global economy, Oil Minister Ali al-Nami said at a conference in Berlin.

    However, the minister estimated that the world will rely on fossil fuel for at least another 50 years.

    "There is no way in the next 50 years" that the world will abandon extracting the fuels, al-Naimi said, adding that "by the way, they are not that bad."

    At the same time, he declined to provide any comments on the crisis on the global crude market and refused to give details on the upcoming meeting in Doha with Russia and other oil producers on freezing output.

    "I don’t think there is a more ideal country for renewables than Saudi Arabia," given its abundant sunshine, available land and plentiful sand, which is needed for making solar panels, al-Naimi was quoted as saying by Bloomberg.

    It’s not the first time that the world’s largest crude exporter has expressed interest in finding an alternative to oil. During a climate summit in Paris last May, the minister said Saudi Arabia wants to "be exporting gigawatts of electric power" produced with solar panels.

    In January, Deputy Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman announced proposals to sell a stake in some assets of state-owned oil company Saudi Arabia Oil Co. The news sparked speculations that following the slump in global oil prices Riyadh has intensified plans to diversify its economy, according to Bloomberg.

    The country aims to install 54 gigawatts of clean energy capacity by 2040, according to Bloomberg New Energy Finance. Renewable energy currently accounts for about 14 percent of global consumption and will increase to 19 percent by 2040, according to the International Energy Agency.

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    Oil, renewable energy, Saudi Arabia
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