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Electricity in Saudi Arabia in 2021

Global Ranking: #74
0.2% #185 Low-carbon electricity
1132.39 watts #19 Generation / person
553.67 gCO2eq/kWh #159 Carbon Intensity
Net exporter Electricity imports

Saudi Arabia's electricity scene is predominantly fossil powered, accounting for almost the entirety of its energy mix, at 99.77%. More than half, specifically 60.55%, of this fossil energy is sourced from gas. Low-carbon energy source, which in this context is solar power, only makes a marginal contribution of 0.23% towards electrical power in Saudi Arabia, close to none considering the country's potential. Saudi Arabia, positioned favorably both geographically and economically, has traditionally been a net exporter of electricity, thanks to its immense reserves of oil and gas.


One of the main ways Saudi Arabia can expand its low-carbon electricity generation is by taking pages from the books of countries that have successfully made significant strides in this area. Economically similar countries like UAE have invested heavily in nuclear power, another low-carbon source. This is mirrored in France, Ukraine, and Slovakia, where nuclear power generates over half of their electricity. Saudi Arabia benefits from abundant sun, and therefore has the potential to learn from countries like Chile and Yemen, where solar power contributes towards 17% of their electricity production. Wind energy, seen in Denmark's 52% contribution, could also serve as an inspiration, given Saudi Arabia's substantial wind resources, especially around the Red Sea coastline.


The history of low-carbon electricity in Saudi Arabia is relatively recent, with the first tangible efforts recorded in 2018. From 2008 until 2017, solar electricity generation was practically non-existent in Saudi Arabia. It was only in 2018 that a nominal production of 0.1 TWh was documented, marking the nation's first foray into solar energy. However, subsequent years didn't witness any major improvements, with figures stagnating around this initial contribution. It was not until 2021 that a notable uptick in solar electricity generation was observed, with 0.6 TWh recorded, a six-fold increase from 2018. This paints a promising picture for the country's growth into the realm of low-carbon energy production, although a lot is left to be desired.

Data Sources

For the years 1980 to 1984 the data sources are EIA and IEA (imports/exports).
For the years 1985 to 1989 the data sources are Energy Institute and IEA (imports/exports).
For the years 1990 to 1999 the data sources are Energy Institute and IEA (imports/exports).
For the years 2000 to 2007 the data source is Ember.
For the years 2008 to 2015 the data sources are Energy Institute and IEA (imports/exports).
For the years 2016 to 2021 the data source is Ember.