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Electricity in Saudi Arabia in 2021

Global Ranking: #167
0.2% #185 Low-carbon electricity
1132.39 watts #18 Generation / person
553.67 gCO2eq/kWh #161 Carbon Intensity

The state of electricity consumption in Saudi Arabia is currently dominated by fossil fuels, accounting for nearly 100% of the mix, with gas being the main contributor at 60.55%. Given the current conditions and global drive towards sustainable and low-carbon energy sources, it is clear that Saudi Arabia has a significant transformation ahead in changing its energy consumption profile. Low-carbon energy is virtually non-existent with only a small fraction of a percentage being accounted for.


Saudi Arabia can look to adopt strategies from countries that have been successful in increasing low-carbon electricity. Considering the vast desert landscape and sunny weather, they could follow Chile's solar energy model which has resulted in 20% of its electricity being generated from solar sources. Additionally, countries with geographical similarities such as Spain and Australia managed to generate 16% and 18% of their electricity through solar means respectively. On the other hand, nuclear energy might also be a valid choice, showcased by the likes of France and Slovakia where 66% and 61% of electricity is generated through nuclear energy. It demands a significant investment but could provide a reliable, low-carbon source of electricity for the long term.


Considering the history of low-carbon electricity in Saudi Arabia, the initiation into green energy has been quite recent. Based on the data available, the introduction of solar electricity did not see any generation until 2018. The evolution of solar electricity remained static for a couple of years with no change in generation from 2008 to 2017. The first notable increase happened in 2018, with a 0.1TWh generation. Following this, 2019 and 2020 saw no progress in this trend which could be criticism points. However, an encouraging jump was observed in 2021 with the generation of solar electricity increasing to 0.6TWh. This could mark the start of a clean energy transformation for the Saudi electricity sector.

Electricity Imports and Exports

Balance of Trade

Data Sources

For the years 1980 to 1984 the data source is EIA.
For the years 1985 to 1999 the data source is Energy Institute.
For the years 2000 to 2007 the data source is Ember.
For the years 2008 to 2015 the data source is Energy Institute.
For the years 2016 to 2021 the data source is Ember.
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