December 7, 2022

Warehouse rentals in Riyadh rise 22% amid Saudi push to develop industrial hub

SHARM EL SHEIKH, Egypt: New details about the goals of Saudi Arabia’s Green Initiative were revealed on Friday during the first day of the SGI Forum in the Egyptian city of Sharm el-Sheikh.

The Saudi Green Initiative, launched by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman last year along with a broader Green Initiative in the Middle East, lays out a roadmap for the Kingdom’s climate action and paves the way for it to achieve its goal achieve net zero emissions by 2060. .

Speaking at the forum, which is being held on the sidelines of the UN Climate Change Conference COP27, Saudi Energy Minister Prince Abdulaziz bin Salman said his country supports climate initiatives in the Kingdom as well as in developing countries.

He said innovation is key to supporting the next generation, protecting the environment and developing renewable energy.

However, he added that new practices are needed to safely use current energy sources and work towards the transition.

The prince called on the public to be mindful of energy use and said Saudi Aramco and other national bodies were taking steps to reduce waste.

Prince Abdulaziz bin Salman, the Saudi energy minister (left), called on other nations to follow the Kingdom’s example in the green transition. (Provided)

“The whole government is working in unison to implement the Saudi Green Initiative,” he said.

“Next year, we will finalize development plans for 10 more renewable energy projects and connect an additional 840 megawatts of solar PV (photovoltaic) power to our grid.

“Today, we are announcing that we will launch a greenhouse gas credit and offset program in early 2023 to support and incentivize efforts and investments in emissions reduction and removal projects in all countries. areas of the Kingdom.”

Over the past year, Saudi Arabia has accelerated the pace of its action on climate change. It aims to achieve SGI’s goal of placing 30% of its land and sea territory under protection by 2030. It will also plant more than 600 million trees in the same time frame, an increase of more than 150 million compared to the initial objective.

Prince Abdulaziz also announced the signing of an agreement with Saudi Aramco to develop one of the largest planned carbon capture and storage centers in the world.

Scheduled to open in 2027 in the industrial city of Jubail, it will extract and store nine million tonnes of carbon dioxide per year in its initial phase. The Kingdom aims to store 44 million tonnes per year by 2035.

Three carbon capture pilot projects were also announced at the summit, involving King Abdullah University of Science and Technology, NEOM Smart City, Saudi Electricity Company, Alsafwa Cement Company, Ma’aden and Gulf Cryo.

Since the launch of the SGI, more than 18 million trees have been planted in the Kingdom. Of these, 13 million are mangroves.

The regeneration of Saudi Arabia’s natural wetland forests aims to provide a living barrier against coastal erosion and a natural defense against climate change; trees sequester five times more carbon than tropical forests.

The Kingdom has also launched 17 initiatives across the country to restore natural greenery. As part of its contribution to the goal of trees, the smart city project NEOM announced this year that 1.5 million hectares of land would be rehabilitated and 100 million native trees, shrubs and grasses planted by 2030.

“Saudi Arabia is taking environmental action at national, regional and international levels,” Environment Minister Abdulrahman Al-Fadley said at the summit.

Saudi Environment Minister Abdulrahman Al-Fadley speaks during an SGI Forum panel. (AFP)

“As a global community, we need to work holistically and take several actions in parallel.

“In Saudi Arabia, we have a clear strategy that identifies gaps in our environmental policy and works to find nature-based solutions.”

Khaled Alhusaini, Senior Engineer at the Saudi Ministry of Energy, said the Saudi Green Initiative paves the way for integrated work among the different entities, ministries, organizations and companies in the Kingdom working in the same strategic directions, “believing that shape tomorrow through today’s actions.”

“The Minister of the Ministry of Energy is working on many projects and initiatives, such as renewable energy, clean hydrogen production and carbon capture utilization policy,” he told Arab News. .

Regarding the youth, he pointed out that they play an important role and have employed several young people in the Ministry of Energy, in the hope that they can achieve their strategic objectives and KPIs, and SGI aims to achieve it.

“The big message for the world is that Saudi Arabia is changing, Saudi Arabia is making a big difference here in the Middle East region, so we appreciate that (we can) take the message to that and to the people here,” he said. said.

The SGI Forum included exhibits from Saudi companies involved in climate action. (Provided)

“So many people are impressed with the efforts of Saudi Arabia, they say they have seen the plans, what is being done, what is happening and what is the plan for the future,” he said. “It’s a big message to the world that Saudi Arabia has a dream and acting on it is achievable.”

Industry Minister Bandar Al-Khorayef stressed the importance of mining for the country’s economic development. He told the forum that his government would continue to “provide” opportunities for companies that want to tap into the Kingdom’s estimated $1.3 trillion mining sector.

Al-Khorayef said Saudi Arabia’s booming mining industry could learn from its oil, gas and petrochemical sectors on how to increase production.

The minister added that the Kingdom has many advantages over other nations.

“Overall, the time it takes to get a mining license is just ridiculous. Saudi Arabia provides mining licenses in 90 to 180 days, but overall it takes years,” he said.

Industry Minister Bandar Al-Khorayef stressed the importance of mining for the country’s economic development. (Twitter: @Gi_Saudi)

He added that the ministry had held three license auctions this year and five more are expected to take place next year.

“In addition to our resources, our geographic location, we believe that Saudi Arabia could be a major asset for the resilience of the global community,” he said.

“Looking at our experience, how we tie the oil and gas business to the petrochemical business, where it’s really a seamless operation, where we’ve been able to get the most impact.

“That’s why we are more competitive. If we do the same in the mining sector, I’m sure we can do a lot more than expected. »

Tarek El-Molla, Egypt’s Minister of Petroleum and Mineral Resources, told the COP27 summit that energy efficiency, emission reductions and decarbonization were among his country’s top priorities, but he called on companies private sector to play a more active role.

He said Egypt wants to be a major partner in environmental and carbon initiatives and is using COP27 as a first step towards the upcoming global climate summit, COP28, in the United Arab Emirates next year.