Saudi Generating Capacity Growing, But Peak Load Growing Faster

Saudi generators increased capacity by 6.2% in 2015. But peak load was 10% higher, suggesting generators cannot let expansion plans slide.

Saudi Arabia’s 17 companies with power generating capacity increased their total generating capacity by 4.76GW or 6.2% to 81.60GW in 2015, according to the government’s Electricity and Cogeneration Regulatory Authority (ECRA).

ECRA’s newly published 2015 Annual Statistical Booklet shows that the total generating capacity available for supply through the grid to customers by utility Saudi Electricity Company (SEC) increased by 5.6%, or 3.65GW to 69.16GW.

However, the pressure is on for generators to maintain the pace of their capacity expansions. Last year’s ECRA annual statistics predicted that Saudi peak load would reach 75GW in 2020 (MEES, 2 October 2015). This year the authority says peak load was 62.26GW, up 10.1% on last year’s 56.55GW. If peak load continues to increase at this rate, it will reach 91.5GW in 2020 – a 47% hike. This suggests that not only new capacity but also more efficient electricity consumption are needed long-term.


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