Saudi Arabian oil consumption has topped that of Germany’s in a recent report released by the International Energy Agency. This is impressive given that Germany’s population is triple that of Saudi Arabia’s and its economy is five times larger. The great majority of Saudi Arabia’s domestic oil consumption is utilized towards the operation of aging oil power plants that are particularly taxed during the hot summer months when Saudi use of air conditioners to beat the heat is at its height.
Saudi power generating capacity has doubled over the past ten years for a variety of reasons. Combating the effects of the desert’s stifling heat absorbs “up to half” of all power generated during peak consumption. The energy required to operate the energy infrastructure requires power-intensive processes like the desalinization of seawater.
Approximately 65% of Saudi electricity is generated using domestically produced oil and the widespread use of this aging technology is often credited to Saudi Arabia’s subsidization of oil prices. Saudi Arabia’s growing dependence on oil is in stark contrast to North America and Europe which are reducing their dependence on the fossil fuel and, if things remain on their current track, Saudi Arabia could face a day when it is a net importer of oil.