- Saudi Arabia Sees 7,000 Jobs Coming From Solar Program by 2020
Saudi Arabia is hoping its solar-power program will generate 7,000 jobs and build a local manufacturing industry that can export products to the world, reducing domestic demand for its crude oil in the process.
The Ministry of Energy and Natural Resources requires bidders seeking to build about 3.45 gigawatts of solar and wind plants by 2020 to spend 30 percent of the capital they invest through home-grown workers and companies, said Turki al-Shehri, head of the renewable project development office for the kingdom.
“We want to create value,” Al-Shehri said in an interview at the Bloomberg New Energy Finance conference in New York on Tuesday. “We don’t just want to bring in companies that open up manufacturing facilities at a very high premium, which the consumer will end up paying. We want to ensure that whatever they are opening is competitive, that it can compete globally for exports.”
The remarks indicate the importance of the renewable energy program to a kingdom that’s among the world’s biggest exporters of crude oil. With a growing population and surging demand for electricity, Saudi Arabia is seeking new energy supplies to ensure that more of its oil reaches export markets instead of being consumed at home.
Ministers are working on a second auction of power-purchase deals for renewable energy developers that would grant government-guaranteed contracts for up to 25 years. Results from the current 1.02-gigawatt program are due by the end of the year, following a 700-megawatt program already tendered. Another 1.73 gigawatts of contracts will be awarded in a third round in time to reach the 2020 target, the official said. The contracts are for both solar and wind farms.
The ministry offers land and grid connection for the projects, requiring developers only to build the power plants. It’s focusing on sites where it can displace the most expensive fuels — diesel, heavy fuel oil and forms of crude oil that Saudi Arabia now consumes to generate electricity.
But the ambition for renewables goes beyond energy needs. It’s also about spurring local industry to build products that the nation can export, helping the government reach its target to diversify the economy away from fossil fuels by 2030. The program also includes building banks, a tourist industry and manufacturing from the proceeds of energy, some of which will come from selling a stake to investors in state oil company Saudi Arabian Oil Co., or Aramco.
“We see it as complementing oil because renewables bring more than just a low-value fuel,” Al-Shehri said. “It fits perfectly into our demand profile, which is high demand, almost 50 percent higher than you see in the evening from air conditioning.”
Local content rules embedded in the auction currently underway will be increased in the coming years as Saudi companies develop their capabilities.
After delaying the program earlier this year, Al-Shehri said the solar program is back on track under the direct management of the energy ministry. His renewable energy office reports to the ministry. It has absorbed authority over renewables from the King Abdullah City for Atomic and Renewable Energy, or KaCare, an organization chartered by the government working outside the energy ministry.
The renewables office is managed by a board led by the energy minister and including officials from Aramco, KaCare and the state electricity company, Saudi Electric Co.
“What’s different now is the fact that they have established this office,” he said. “It’s testimony to the fact that we’re serious. These tenders have years of pre-development work. Putting out a tender is easy. Putting out a good tender requires work.”
Ekiti Governor Unveils Multi-Billion Naira Relief Programmes Amid Economic Crisis
Ekiti State Governor, Mr. Biodun Abayomi Oyebanji, has announced a comprehensive relief package aimed at alleviating the hardship faced by the people of the state.
The relief programs encompass various sectors to cushion the impact of the economic downturn.
One of the key initiatives entails clearing salary arrears amounting to over N2.7 billion owed to both State and Local Government workers.
This move signifies the government’s commitment to addressing the financial burdens faced by its workforce.
Furthermore, Governor Oyebanji has approved a substantial increase of N600 million per month in the subvention of autonomous institutions, including the Judiciary and tertiary institutions.
This augmentation is intended to enable these institutions to implement wage awards in alignment with State and Local Government workers’ salaries.
In addition to addressing salary arrears, the relief programs extend to pensioners, with the approval of payments totaling N1.5 billion for two months’ pension arrears.
Moreover, an increase in the monthly gratuity payment to state pensioners and local government pensioners will provide additional financial support, totaling N200 million monthly.
The relief initiatives also encompass agricultural and small-scale business sectors.
The allocation of funds for food production and livestock transformation projects underscores the government’s commitment to enhancing food security and economic sustainability at the grassroots level.
Governor Oyebanji emphasized that these relief programs are part of the state’s concerted efforts to mitigate the adverse effects of the economic downturn and foster shared prosperity.
The comprehensive nature of the initiatives reflects a proactive approach towards addressing the challenges faced by Ekiti State residents.
President Tinubu Orders Immediate Settlement of N342m Electricity Bill for Presidential Villa
President Bola Tinubu has directed the prompt settlement of a N342 million outstanding electricity bill owed by the Presidential Villa to the Abuja Electricity Distribution Company (AEDC).
This move comes in response to the reconciliation of accounts between the State House Management and the AEDC.
The AEDC had earlier threatened to disconnect electricity services to the Presidential Villa and 86 Federal Government Ministries, Departments, and Agencies (MDAs) over a total outstanding debt of N47.20 billion as of December 2023.
Contrary to the initial claim by the AEDC that the State House owed N923 million in electricity bills, the Presidency clarified that the actual outstanding amount is N342.35 million.
This discrepancy underscores the importance of accurate accounting and reconciliation between entities.
In a statement signed by President Tinubu’s Special Adviser on Information and Strategy, Bayo Onanuga, the Presidency affirmed the commitment to settle the debt promptly.
Chief of Staff Femi Gbajabiamila assured that the debt would be paid to the AEDC before the end of the week.
The directive from the Presidency extends beyond the State House, as Gbajabiamila urged other MDAs to reconcile their accounts with the AEDC and settle their outstanding electricity bills.
The AEDC, on its part, issued a 10-day notice to the affected government agencies to settle their debts or face disconnection.
This development highlights the importance of financial accountability and responsible management of public utilities.
It also underscores the necessity for government entities to fulfill their financial obligations to service providers promptly, ensuring uninterrupted services and avoiding potential disruptions.
Abuja Electricity Distribution Company Issues Ultimatum to 86 Government Agencies Over N47bn Debt
The Abuja Electricity Distribution Company (AEDC) has issued an ultimatum to 86 government agencies, including the Presidential Villa, owing a collective debt of N47 billion.
The notice comes as a response to the prolonged failure of these agencies to settle their outstanding electricity bills.
According to the public notice released by the AEDC management, some of the highest debts are attributed to prominent entities such as the National Security Adviser (owing N95.9 billion), the Chief of Defence staff barracks, and military formations (indebted to the tune of N12 billion).
Also, several ministries, including the Ministry of the Federal Capital Territory and the Ministry of Power, have sizable outstanding bills.
The AEDC has expressed its frustration over the inability of these government bodies to honor their financial obligations despite previous attempts to facilitate payment.
In response, the company has warned of imminent disconnection of services if the outstanding debts are not settled within 10 days of the notice.
The outstanding debts are attributed to various factors including the devaluation of the naira, cash scarcity resulting from demonetization programs, high inflation rates, removal of fuel subsidies, and foreign exchange challenges.
These financial burdens have adversely impacted the operations of the AEDC, contributing to a loss of N99 million in foreign exchange alone.
As the deadline for payment approaches, government agencies are under pressure to address their outstanding debts to avoid service disruptions.
The AEDC remains steadfast in its commitment to ensuring that all entities fulfill their financial obligations, underscoring the importance of prompt payment for uninterrupted electricity services.
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