Medina Mosque photo from Shutterstock

The Guardian reports that a top spokesman for the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia has announced plans to transition the nation to 100 percent renewable energy in coming decades. Prince Turki Al Faisal Al Saud told the Global Economic Symposium in Brazil that the Kingdom is moving forward with large investments in renewables, nuclear power, and other alternatives to make the transition to low-carbon sources.

prince turki al faisal al saud, saudi arabia, renewable energy, solar, fiona harvey, global economic symposiumPhoto of Prince Turki, credit Nourah, CC BY 2.0.

Prince Turki was a member of a panel discussion at the symposium on “Reassessing Renewable Energies,” moderated by The Guardian‘s environmental correspondent Fiona Harvey herself. She quotes the prince as saying: “Oil is more precious for us underground than as a fuel source. If we can get to the point where we can replace fossil fuels and use oil to produce other products that are useful, that would be very good for the world. I wish that may be in my lifetime, but I don’t think it will be.”

Harvey writes that Saudi Arabia is currently powered almost entirely by fossil fuels — about two-thirds of that is oil and the rest mostly natural gas. The potential for solar power in sunny Saudi Arabia is very good, though. In May 2012, a Saudi representative said that the nation plans to invest over $100 billion to develop 41 gigawatts of solar power by 2032. In April, the country opened a 388,000-square-foot solar thermal plant in Riyadh, reported to be the world’s largest such plant.

Prince Turki served previously as the director general of Saudi Arabia’s intelligence agency, as well as ambassdor to the United Kingdom and the United States. He is founder of the King Faisal Foundation and chairman of the King Faisal Center for Research and Islamic Studies.

Via The Guardian