The Guardian reports that Prince Turki Al Faisal Al Saud, a member of the Saudi Arabia royal family, told the Global Economic Symposium in Brazil that he hoped the country would make this transition entirely to clean energy in his lifetime (he’s 67). Though with his country mostly reliant on fossiel fuels, he acknowledges that he might be a little ambitious. He does say that Saudi Arabia is investing in renewables, nuclear power, and other alternatives. Though, according to The Guardian’s report, the country would still use oil for needs other than power.
“Oil is more precious for us underground than as a fuel source,” he said. “If we can get to the point where we can replace fossil fuels and use oil to produce other products that are useful, that would be very good for the world. I wish that may be in my lifetime, but I don’t think it will be.”
Joss Garman, political director of Greenpeace, said: “It speaks volumes that a Saudi prince can see the benefits of switching to clean energy sources when [UK chancellor] George Osborne seemingly cannot, but Saudi Arabia will only truly be a green economy when it leaves its fossil fuels in the ground.”
It’s big talk, of course, and would likely take many years and a lot of investment to achieve. But Saudi Arabia is on the right track. As SmartPlanet’s Kirsten Korosec reported earlier this early, the country is making a major, multi-billion dollar investment in solar which would add 41 gigawatts of solar capacity, or 20 percent of Saudi Arabia’s power, by 2032. And as Mark Halper notes, Saudi Arabia has partnered with China to develop nuclear power. To reach their ambitious goals, it’s definitely a good start.