Saudi Arabia and SunEdison study $6.4 Bn Solar PV site in KSA

Originally published on Solar Love by Nathan

Renewable Energy in Saudi Arabia will receive a big boost with a massive, vertically-integrated $6.4 billion solar PV manufacturing complex.
Renewable Energy in Saudi Arabia will receive a big boost with a massive, vertically-integrated $6.4 billion solar PV manufacturing complex.

The Saudi Arabian government, along with the noted solar developer SunEdison, is currently undertaking a feasibility study for a proposed $6.4 billion fully integrated solar PV manufacturing complex.

The potential project would see the creation of a fully functional and complete “industrial ecosystem” — capable of doing everything from producing polysilicon to assembling PV modules. A preliminary study of the project was already carried out by the National Industrial Clusters Development Program (NICDP) and SunEdison, back in 2013.

PV Tech provides details:

SunEdison said that it was working with the Public Investment Fund (PIF) of the Government of Saudi Arabia and the Saudi Arabian Investment Company (Sanabil Investments) on the complex which would potentially be built at Wa’ad Al Shammal in Saudi Arabia.

The USD 6.4 billion production complex if established was said to be expected to employ SunEdison’s proprietary high pressure silane fluidised bed reactor (HP-FBR) polysilicon, and continuous Czochralski (CCz) crystal ingot technology and equipment.

“We anticipate substantial growth of solar PV within the Kingdom and the region.

This project will support that growth, and the growth aspirations of SunEdison and our Saudi partners,” stated Ahmad Chatila, CEO of SunEdison.

“The combination of SunEdison technology, and the Kingdom’s world-class manufacturing and energy sector expertise will enable us to capitalise on substantial growth in the Kingdom and the region, and maximise the value of solar PV projects supported by this venture.”

Azzam Shalabi, President of NICDP agreed, and added: “This project will be capable of building a complete industrial eco-system that is sustainable and able to compete on a global level by utilising pioneering technology developed by SunEdison to produce high purity polysilicon, and high-efficiency, low-cost mono-crystalline ingots, in addition to benefiting from economies of scale given the size and vertically integrated nature of the complex.”

Photo Credit: Kwong Yee Cheng / Foter / CC BY-NC-SA

This article, Saudi Government & SunEdison Undertaking Feasibility Study For $6.4 Billion Solar PV Manufacturing Complex, is syndicated from Clean Technica and is posted here with permission.

About the Author

Nathan For the fate of the sons of men and the fate of beasts is the same; as one dies, so dies the other. They all have the same breath, and man has no advantage over the beasts; for all is vanity. – Ecclesiastes 3:19

President Obama: Restoring the Dream

by John Brian Shannon

President Obama advertised that he would bring “Hope and Change” to the U.S.A. when he campaigned for president first time around and he did, in fact, bring about momentous change during his first term.

I know this, because in my area of specialty — earth-shaking change has occurred. Change that by some accounts, was too much to hope for in an entire lifetime!

Sometime after his 2009 inauguration, the 44th President of the United States laid out his (then-controversial) positions on energy, energy security and sustainable energy as they related to the United States.

In fact, he wrote me a letter back in March 2012 outlining his energy plans. It is a profound document and is available at:

At the time, these seemed like grand but unreachable goals. But not now — less than a year later! In hindsight, it is now obvious that President Obama had a strong, overriding vision of a self-sufficient and energy-secure America. For an overview, visit: The Biggest Energy Story of 2012

It is also enlightening to read the Reuters report on what the IEA has said about President Obama’s startlingly successful energy, energy security and sustainable energy policies: U.S. to overtake Saudi as top oil producer: IEA

“(Reuters) – The United States will overtake Saudi Arabia and Russia as the world’s top oil producer by 2017, the West’s energy agency said on Monday, predicting Washington will come very close to achieving a previously unthinkable energy self-sufficiency.” (Reuters excerpt)

President Obama promised positive change in America’s energy future — and he delivered unprecedented positive change! Energy industry experts are still reeling.

Which gives me hope.

Hope that with some cooperation from U.S. politicians and from America’s allies, this President and his administration can overcome the economic damage that has threatened the ongoing success story that is our Western society.

How to do that over the long term? And how to do it without throwing billions of dollars at temporary solutions and then ending up in a similar position 10 or 15 years later.

Many Americans and America’s well-wishers around the globe are unhappy with increasing inequality in the U.S.

Initially the U.S. became great on account of the opportunities to citizens (first) and immigrants (second) and its trading partners around the world (third). What built America was the hopes and aspirations of several generations who saw the opportunities offered to those who worked smart and hard, and who also invested their time and resources well.

Millions of people were self-incentivized to be productive, to contribute to the betterment of the nation and to add value to their lives and to their communities. Having the opportunity to succeed — allowed and created all of the success that citizens and trading partners of the U.S.A. have enjoyed over the past hundred years or more.

For those who can be honest about it, those opportunities have dissipated alarmingly in recent decades.

Rarely can one finish their education, begin a career at one level and years later, finish their career as a CEO or owner of a large and prosperous business. People have little upward mobility and for those born into poverty situations, the vast majority of them continue to live in poverty until they pass out of this world — no matter how great their work ethic.

This has been well-documented elsewhere, so I won’t go on about it at length here.

But if anything is going to help restore citizens faith in the American dream, and restore the faith well-wishers of the United States around the world, it will be a healthier and better-educated American society.

One of the best ways to improve peoples economic standing, (according the the UN and other organizations expert in governance and human development) are by society-wide improvements to health and education.

It needn’t cost a trillion dollars — but it does need direction.

The same sort of direction that President Obama used to take his country from a nation perilously addicted to foreign oil and turn it into an net exporter of oil and gas — in the process making it an almost energy self-sufficient nation and a nation on the forefront of sustainable energy worldwide. All accomplished during a time of unprecedented worldwide economic upheaval. By any standard, a monumental accomplishment! Congratulations are in order, Mr. President.

So, where are we now and what could we hope for?

  • An energy-secure America. Done. Check.
  • A uniformly healthy America. In progress, gaining momentum.
  • A uniform minimum education of ‘one-college-level-degree’ or ‘one-vocational-certification’  for all Americans. Let’s hope.

If this President’s first term accomplishments are remembered as making America energy secure combined with a well-begun universal health-care plan — then let us hope that his second term will be remembered by a “Done. Check.” on a uniformly healthy society and a college or vocational education plan for all American citizens — so that all citizens can become part of America’s overall economic success.

Good health, a good education and plenty of career opportunities for citizens, will thereby and effectively remove present inequality, restore the hope of opportunity for success to the American people and improve the nations economic health. These are not new ideas. These have worked before, and profoundly, are what made America great from its beginning.

Let’s restore the American Dream, but this time let it be a Sustainable American Dream and one that will work for all U.S. citizens — not just the wealthy.


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America’s Sudden Energy Pivot

by John Brian Shannon

Earlier this year, President Barack Obama sent me a letter outlining the Administration’s energy goals. In it, he laid out his ambitious plans to decrease dependence on foreign oil imports, increase oil and gas exploration and extraction, lower the fuel prices paid by consumers and set historic fuel-efficiency standards for U.S. cars and trucks. Below is a short excerpt of the letter which you can read in full at

The White House, Washington

March 21, 2012

Dear John:

Thank you for writing.  I appreciate hearing from you, and I share the vision of millions of Americans who want to take control of our Nation’s energy future.  My Administration’s all-of-the-above energy strategy is about developing every source of American energy—a strategy aimed at saving families and businesses money at the pump by reducing our reliance on foreign oil, expanding oil and gas production, and positioning the United States as the global leader in clean energy.

The hard truth is there are no overnight solutions to our energy challenges.  The only way to deal with this problem is through a sustained, serious, all-of-the-above approach.  Under my Administration, American oil production is at its highest level in 8 years, and we are now less reliant on foreign oil than in any of the past 16 years.  We have more working oil and gas rigs than the rest of the world combined, and we have opened up millions of new acres for oil and gas exploration where appropriate and where it can be done safely.  My Administration has also approved dozens of new pipelines to move oil around, including from Canada, which will help create jobs and encourage more energy production.  Thanks to our Nation’s booming oil production, more efficient vehicles, and a world-class refining sector that last year was a net exporter for the first time in 60 years, we cut net imports by 10 percent—or a million barrels a day—in the last year alone.

Only eight months later, on November 12th, the International Energy Agency reported that the United States had suddenly moved from a country historically dependent on foreign oil, to a net exporter. But that is just the beginning. According to the IEA the United States will become the world’s largest oil producer by 2017 — surpassing even Saudi Arabia. Reuters said the IEA annual long-term report surprised top IEA analysts:

Energy developments in the United States are profound and their effect will be felt well beyond North America – and the energy sector”

“The recent rebound in US oil and gas production, driven by upstream technologies that are unlocking light tight oil and shale gas resources, is spurring economic activity – with less expensive gas and electricity prices giving industry a competitive edge.”

“The United States, which currently imports around 20 percent of its total energy needs, becomes all but self-sufficient in net terms – a dramatic reversal of the trend seen in most other energy importing countries.”

“The Chief Economist for the IEA said the US would far surpass Russia as the world’s largest gas producer by 2015 and become the world’s largest oil producer by 2017.”

Former President George W. Bush was completely right when he declared, “America, is addicted to oil.” Sadly, that has not changed. But instead of staying with the status-quo (perilously dependent on foreign oil) the Obama Administration decided early-on to keep billions of dollars of oil & gas investment, jobs, profits and other related economic activity here for the benefit of North Americans. And that, my friends — is historic change for the better.


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It’s Time for a Canadian Strategic Oil Reserve System!

by John Brian Shannon

The United States of America keeps a 90-day supply of low-refine oil (also known as bunker fuel) in vast underground reservoirs located all over the U.S. as part of their Strategic Oil Reserves program, so that in the case of any interruption of oil imports (presumably originating in the Middle East) the U.S.A. could continue to function for the duration of that interruption.

The reasoning behind this is that once people can’t drive back and forth to work, buses can’t run, and other transportation is affected (jets, trains, ships) effectively the economy just stops! The U.S. can’t risk that – and neither can other countries. Most of them keep their own economies going by selling America resources and manufactured goods in huge volumes.

That is why the U.S.A. maintains a 90-day supply of low-refine oil – a type of oil which is easily and quickly refined into either diesel or gasoline and other products when required.

For decades, a significant benefit for the United States has been that the Strategic Oil Reserve has been used to ‘even out’ the worst oil price spikes as they occur in the marketplace – almost in real-time!

Don’t think of the strategic reserve as a static 180 – 225 million barrels – or any other amount of oil. That amount changes hourly, daily and weekly.

The many underground reservoirs located all over the country continuously move oil IN and OUT of their reservoirs, to (1) to ensure refineries have sufficient feedstock to allow continuous refining 24/7/365 and (2) to act as a shock absorber to market price spikes by adding supply – thereby slightly lowering the price at the gas pump. It’s all about ‘even-ing out’ the price, so that prices don’t jump up and down by 20% or more, many times per month.

The American government, which operates the U.S. Strategic Oil Reserve system have, from time to time, quite rightly punished some predatory-type oil speculators by suddenly dumping millions of barrels of oil into the market via the Strategic Oil Reserve system – lowering prices dramatically and costing speculators billions of dollars of losses in the mercantile market system.

Finally, in any sudden military attack against America, the U.S. military would need to tap that oil and have it refined quickly in order to fuel it’s jets, ships, tanks and almost all other military vehicles, etc… The public might not see gasoline or diesel for a while in that scenario, but protecting the country from invasion or attack takes precedence over and above keeping the economy going.

Maintaining a strategic oil reserve of low-refine oil in any country is always a good idea, but especially for Canada – an oil exporting country.

What? Yes, in case of terrorist attack, military attack or other delivery problems, if Canada had a large enough strategic reserve system it could quickly substitute the reserve oil to our Asian or American customers -and the government-run strategic reserve system could be simply ‘topped up’ once the supply problem or delivery system is repaired.

Many oil-exporting nations have this arrangement, including the U.S.A. and the world’s largest oil exporter, Saudi Arabia.

Think of the benefits of Canadian government involvement here;
1) A large pool of easily available and easily refine-able oil to supply our Canadian Forces during the first 90 days of any surprise military attack.
2) In case of any supply problem – low-refine can be substituted and the SOR oil tanks can be ‘topped up’ later.
3) The ability to ‘even out’ the worst supply shocks in regards to gasoline and diesel prices at the pumps.
4) The ability to punish predatory oil speculators who could virtually hold a country hostage and who also set the dates imported oil arrives at any North American oil refinery. (Remember an oil refinery is just an expensive collection of pipes and burners, when it is sitting idle waiting for a supertanker running behind schedule)
5) Aside from SUPPLY problems, a strategic reserve can ALSO assist during periods of high DEMAND such as the summer months and also in the dead of winter when home heating oil usage peaks.
6) We buy insurance for our cars. Sometimes we are actually glad we have insurance, when an accident or theft occurs, for example. The same applies here.
7) SOR countries are able to maintain exports and keep their customers happy and not lose them to other oil producing nations – when a pipeline breaks or a well-head is damaged, for example. When those or other problems occur, they instantly solve the problem with strategic reserve oil – and the affected oil company replaces that oil once the pipeline or well-head problem is repaired.

**Countries which rely on oil can be a fickle lot, if you can’t supply them – even once, they just phone someone more reliable and you lose them as a customer – permanently.**

Canada needs a strategic oil reserve system similar to the United States, scaled to our much smaller population to ensure Canada’s military could function for at least 90 days in the event of an imported oil collapse, so that Canadians have sufficient protection from unforeseen disruptions in the oil supply and demand equation and a realistic cushion from price spikes caused by market fluctuations and predatory speculators, while maintaining the ability to cover supply problems with regards to oil exports to our American and Asian oil customers.

Follow John Brian Shannon on Twitter:!/JBSCanada

United States: Nuclear Energy Picking Up Momentum | MY COMMENT

United States: Nuclear Energy Picking Up Momentum  in ENERGYBOOM.COM
By JOSEPH BAKER ON January 20, 2012

MY COMMENT — With proper safeguards and spent-fuel disposal, nuclear can do.

Under the right conditions, and I’m talking about rigorous design and location standards, robust redundancies and state of the art security — small modular reactor (SMR) nuclear plants could be a real asset to North American energy needs.

For one example, placing a nuclear plant on geologically-active strata (most of California) is a very bad idea. Ask Japan about that.

Japan has shut down most of it’s 54 nuclear plants and is now burning fossil-fuels to replace that electricity and has just signed an ongoing agreement with Saudi Arabia to supply Japan with THREE TIMES THEIR GROSS 2010 OIL IMPORT TOTALS.

Germany is getting out of the nuclear power business completely and since Fukushima, is now doing it sooner than planned.

The sweet part of small-scale nuclear plants is that they mesh seamlessly with solar and wind power. Along with sustainable energy, geo-thermal and nuclear, “all clean electricity — all the time” for the entire continent could now be well-within our grasp.

Notwithstanding America’s huge coal reserves, coal is better used for Coal-To-Liquid fuels (CTL) and other highly-value-added synthetic products — and for export to better the U.S. balance-of-trade account.

With world-class standards, modular nuclear could be an outstanding asset.

Without those high standards in place, I’m against it.