KHOBAR, Saudi Arabia Dec 18 Saudi Aramco plans
to commission its wind turbine pilot project, the first in the
kingdom, next month, the state oil company said on Sunday, part
of nationwide plans to diversify energy supplies and to meet an
increase in demand.
The wind turbine, supplied by U.S. company General Electric
(GE) will provide power to Saudi Aramco's bulk plant in Turaif,
in northwest Saudi Arabia.
"The first electricity is expected to be supplied to the
Saudi Aramco bulk plant once commissioning of the wind turbine
is completed in January 2017," Aramco said in a statement.
The kingdom, the world's largest oil exporter, produces very
little renewable energy, representing less than 1 percent of the
But it plans to generate 9.5 gigawatts of electricity from
renewable energy as part of a reform plan known as Vision
The plan, a package of economic and social policies is
designed to free the kingdom from dependence on oil exports.
Saudi Aramco's CEO told Reuters in May, Aramco was looking
to play a major role in achieving that target.
"Renewables is on our radar ... and we are looking forward
to play a major role in renewables in the near future," he said
at the time.
Aramco said in the statement on Sunday Saudi Arabia's wind
resource was "exceptional" based on a measurement programme it
started in 2012.
The new wind turbine will generate 2.75 megawatts of power
at its peak, enough to power around 250 Saudi households, the
It will also reduce the burning of diesel for power
generation by 18,600 barrels of oil equivalent per year (boepd).
(Reporting by Reem Shamseddine. Editing by Jane Merriman)