Saudi Arabia to save energy through insulation

JEDDAH Sat Feb 12, 2011 6:49pm IST

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JEDDAH (Reuters) - Top oil exporter Saudi Arabia plans to cut up to 40 percent of its energy use, largely by enforcing investment in insulation, its water and power minister said on Saturday.

Power demand in the top OPEC producer is rising at an annual rate of 8 percent, requiring investments of close to $80 billion by 2018.

Without reducing the rate of energy consumption growth, the kingdom could see oil available for export drop some 3 million barrels per day (bpd) to less than 7 million bpd in 2028, Khalid al-Falih, the chief executive of state oil firm Saudi Aramco said last year.

"Insulation in homes is expected to lower energy consumption by 40 percent," Hussayen said on Saturday. "Now it will be mandatory and we are working on implementing it," he said, giving no timeframe.

He added that air-conditioners make up for 70-80 percent of energy used.

The kingdom has established the King Abdullah City For Atomic and Renewable Energy (KA-CARE) to diversify its energy mix and reduce its dependence on fossil fuels domestically that it would rather export.

(Reporting by Asma Alsharif; Editing by Reem Shamseddine and Patrick Graham)

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