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Mecca to become Solar City
|by Dr. Naseem Sheikh|
Mecca city in the Hejaz, is going to become first green city of oil kingdom. Mecca features an extremely arid climate. Unlike other Saudi Arabian cities, Mecca retains its warm temperature in winter, which can range from 20 °C (68 °F) at midnight to 40 °C (104 °F) in the afternoon. Summer temperatures are considered extremely hot and break the 50 °C (122 °F) mark in the afternoon dropping to 30 °C (86 °F) in the evening. Rain usually falls in Mecca in small amounts between November and January.
Solar power is the conversion of sunlight into electricity, either directly using photovoltaic (PV), or indirectly using concentrated solar power (CSP).
Mecca proposes to build USD 640 million solar energy project. The city on January 5th, plans to select from a group of at least 20 bidders competing to build and operate facilities producing 385 gigawatt hours per year of power including 100 megawatts of solar capacity, said Mayor Osama al-Bar. “No city in Saudi Arabia owns power-generation assets, and we want to be first city that owns Power plans. The project will be established on an area of about 2m sqm. About 20 international consortiums consisting of about 100 companies will compete for the execution of the project.”
Saudi Arabia is carrying out a significant industrial plan and, according to the most recent assessment by the United Nations Carbon Dioxide Information Analysis Center, ranks 10th in the world for its carbon dioxide emissions. Demography and development are causing an environmentally devastating rise in energy demand of 7% annually.
According to Saudi daily Al Eqtisadiah, the development is intended to meet growing energy requirements in the municipality and shave about SAR 2.2 billion off the holy city’s electricity bill.
Oil demand for use in domestic electricity consumption is currently rising by about 8% annually with a quarter of total output currently serving national energy requirements. All of Saudi Arabia’s natural gas, the kingdom's other natural resource is currently allocated for domestic consumption.
The city will need 385 gigawatt-hours of power each year and the whole project should be finished by 2018.
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