As part of its strategic plan that includes massive use of solar and wind energy, Saudi Arabia is looking into geothermal energy to satisfy the power needs of its industries.
Speaking at the World Future Energy Summit in the UAE, Saudi Energy Minister Khalid Al Falih stated that his country is in the works of eventually generating 10GW of power through a project that combines solar, wind, and geothermal power resources. The project is set to be installed by 2023.
Al Falih also said that Riyadh is set to start the first round of bidding for up to $50 billion worth of investment. This does not come as a surprise, as some research already cite potential geothermal sites in the southwestern province of Jizan, specifically in the Al Khouba area.
According to the website of Renewable Resource Atlas:
“There is potential for development of geothermal energy in Saudi Arabia given the ancient volcanic lava fields (harrats), hot springs, and hot rocks (for enhanced geothermal energy). Currently, geothermal energy is not major source of electricity generation or heating in Saudi Arabia, due to a lack of detailed studies and competition from other energy sources. In addition, Saudi Arabia may be able to benefit from the use of shallow Earth-coupled (geothermal) heat pumps, using the Earth as a heat sink to provide more efficient cooling of buildings.”
The Jizan region is regarded as a promising geothermal system that covers several structural-related hot springs. One study found that there exist a number of good geothermal anomalies in the province, of which the Al Khouba hot spring is considered the most important. It has a geothermal potential of 17.847 MW and a possible reservoir area of 1.125 km2.
Now, authorities in Saudi Arabia are supporting research and earmarking huge investments in renewable energy in the area.