The Riyadh Chamber of Commerce and Industry (RCCI) will host a presentation tomorrow by the Saudi Electricity Company (SEC) on future electricity projects that will be available to the private sector. About 20,000 Saudi contractors are expected to attend.
According to recent studies, power consumption in Saudi Arabia is increasing by 5.5 percent each year as a result of the growing population. About SR430 billion [U.S.$115 billion] will be needed over the next 23 years to set up new projects for power generation. The Kingdom's existing capacity is around 23,400 megawatts; an additional 20,000 is needed by 2010.
One of the major sources of electricity are the country’s desalination plants. Water and Electricity Minister Abdullah Al-Hussayen reports that his ministry has allocated SR1.5 billion [$0.4 billion] for their maintenance and renovation. Saudi Arabia is now the world's largest producer of desalinated water, which provides 70 percent of the country's drinking water.
Saudi Arabia’s private sector is showing an annual growth rate of 6.2 percent, and is expected to be contributing SR64 billion [$17 billion] to the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) by the end of 2005. The sector is currently contributing over 16 percent to non-oil GDP, and employs 15 percent of the total work force. There are 163,844 institutions under the sector.