Saudi Arabia has been working towards decreasing its dependence on oil and diversifying its energy sources, developing projects such as the world’s largest solar power project with the help of Japan’s giant venture capital fund Softbank. In line with the Kingdom’s recent efforts, Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman laid the foundation stone earlier this week for the country’s first nuclear research reactor and center for the development of aircraft structures.
In addition, the Crown Prince announced the launch of six other strategic projects during his visit to the King Abdulaziz City for Science and Technology (KACST) in Riyadh. According to Saudi Press Agency, the projects include those in the fields of renewable energy, atomic energy, water desalination, and genetic medicine. As reported by Saudi Gazette, the Crown Prince was received at the university’s headquarters by the Minister of Energy, Industry and Mineral Resources Khalid Al-Falih and President of KACST Prince Turki Bin Saud Bin Mohammed.
Amongst the key projects the Crown Prince launched this week are: the Saudi Central Laboratory for Human Genome, which documents the first genetic map of the Saudi society in order to discover genetic mutations that may cause hereditary diseases; a solar thermal water desalination plant in Khafji with a capacity of 60,000 cubic meters daily; incubators and accelerators of the Badir Technology Incubator Program in Dammam, Al-Qassim, Medina, and Abha; and a desalination plant in Yanbu, the Kingdom’s first industrial application model that uses desalination technology.
As reported earlier this year by Bloomberg, Saudi Arabia has for years sought to get a foothold in clean energy and last year the country’s ministers moved forward with the first projects, collecting bids for a 300-megawatt plant in October. In addition to creating alternative sources of energy for the nation, Saudi Arabia is looking to create hundreds of thousands of jobs and shave billions of dollars off power costs for the country.