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Renewable Resource Monitoring & Mapping Program in Saudi Arabia

Challenge

As part of its mission to establish a sustainable energy mix for the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA), the King Abdullah City for Atomic and Renewable Energy (K.A.CARE) conducted the Renewable Resource Monitoring and Mapping (RRMM) Program.  Renewable resource assessment data is essential to understand the magnitude, geographic distribution, characteristics and variability of solar and wind resources within KSA.  Factors such as aerosols, weather patterns and terrain have an impact on solar and wind resource availability. Geothermal and waste resources also vary according to conditions such as local geology and population demographics, respectively. By properly characterizing these renewable energy resources, K.A.CARE aimed to enable power project implementation and technology research, development and innovation, in order to best leverage the renewable resources of the Kingdom.  

Solution

Battelle supported the RRMM Program. Our work focused on establishing a field monitoring network for solar resources, airborne dust and meteorological conditions, and building the capacity of host government staff to sustainably operate the network and share the data publicly. The project included identification of information needs for assessing potential waste-to-energy resources in the country, and review of existing waste-to-energy datasets and demonstration projects. The project also included creating an online, GIS-based Atlas to share the quality assured monitoring data with stakeholders through a secure, bilingual online Atlas tool. Key activities included identifying several hundred local and regional stakeholders in the government, private, and academic sectors, and conducting a series of workshops, trainings, and conferences to build the capacity of these stakeholders for uptake and application of the monitoring data.

Outcome

The RRMM Program contributed to achievement of Saudi Arabia’s renewable resource targets (e.g., 41GW of electricity capacity from solar by 2032), and also provided the data and tools to promote research, development and innovation for a renewable energy industry in the Kingdom. The operation and maintenance of the stations, along with the required data analysis, will provide opportunities for Saudi-based businesses to provide critical support to renewable resource assessment.