UK and Saudi Arabia Ink Clean Energy Partnership, as France Backs Global Solar Push

World | Renewable Energy

Photo-illustration: Pixabay

The controversial UK visit of Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman culminated in a new clean energy agreement between the two countries, as the UK sought to underline the role it can play in supporting the Gulf State’s renewables plans.

As part of the visit, UK Business Secretary Greg Clark signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on Clean Energy with Saudi Arabia’s Minister of Energy, Industry and Mineral Resources Khalid A. Al-Falih.

The pact includes commitments to share technical knowledge and host an annual UK-Saudi Energy and Industry Dialogue in a bid to accelerate the roll out of renewables and boost investment between the two countries.

The agreement covers a wide range of clean energy technologies, including smart grids, electric vehicles, and Carbon Capture Usage and Storage, as well as renewables.

“Our Industrial Strategy sets out a long-term plan to build a Britain fit for the future,” said Clark. “The global shift to clean growth is one of the most foreseeable and significant global economic trends and will transform many sectors of the economy, including power, transport, construction, energy-intensive industries and agriculture. This Memorandum of Understanding will help both the UK and Saudi Arabia make the most of this shift.”

Al Falih said the agreement would help support the country’s Vision 2030 clean energy plans, which aims to diversify the state’s energy mix away from a heavy reliance on oil and gas.

The agreement comes ahead of the release next month of a UK government report on the clean tech export opportunity offered by Saudi Arabia.

The report is expected to show Saudi Arabia’s expanding clean energy sector represents a multi-million pound opportunity for the UK, with a particularly focus on the engineering, construction, and smart grid sectors.

In related new, the French government today confirmed it will commit €700m to the India-backed International Solar Alliance (ISA), which aims to accelerate the roll out of solar technologies in developing economies.

Speaking at the ISA’s first conference in New Delhi, French President Emmanuel Macron said France would more than triple its funding for the alliance, taking its total contribution to €1bn.

The ISA has set a target of mobilising $1tr of solar investment and currently counts 60 countries as signatories.

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi is hoping the organisation’s first conference will see more countries sign up in support of its goal of catalysing increased solar investment in over 120 nations around the world.