Saudi Arabia on Friday unveiled its progress on its Saudi Green Initiative (SGI) under which the Kingdom plans to plant more than 600 million trees, protect 30 percent of the country’s land and sea from climate change and build the world’s green hydrogen plant.
Energy Minister Prince Abdulaziz bin Salman discussed the updates at the country’s SGI forum on the sidelines of COP27 in Sharm el-Sheikh, Egypt.
Inaugurated in October 2021 by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, SGI is a roadmap for Saudi Arabia’s climate action, paving the way for the Kingdom’s plan to reach net zero emissions by 2060.
Over the past year, Saudi Arabia has accelerated the pace of its climate action.
The Kingdom has increased the number of trees its will plant to more than 150 million from the initial goal of 450 million by 2030, state news agency SPA reported Saturday.
The country’s pledge to reduce emissions by 278 mtpa by 2030 through the Circular Carbon Economy (CCE) approach is also on track, the forum heard.
In line with the Kingdom’s ambition to achieve 50 percent power generation capacity from renewables by 2030, 13 new renewable energy projects with a total capacity of 11.4GW, at an estimated investment value of US$ 9 billion (SAR 34 billion), are under development.
The projects, once operational, are set to reduce around 20 million tons of CO2e per year.
World’s largest hydrogen plant
Supporting delivery of the SGI emissions reduction target and the Kingdom’s ambition to become the world’s foremost low-cost producer and exporter of clean hydrogen, the world’s largest green hydrogen plant is under construction and set to start producing up to 600 tons per day in 2026.
Aramco, SABIC and Ma’aden have received the world’s first independent certifications recognizing blue hydrogen and ammonia production, further enabling Saudi Arabia’s export infrastructure for clean fuels.
In his keynote speech Prince Abdulaziz bin Salman, Saudi Arabia’s Minister of Energy said: “The entire government is working in unison to deliver the Saudi Green Initiative.
“Next year, we will be finalizing the plans for developing 10 more renewable energy projects and connecting an additional 840 MW of solar PV power to our grid.”
“Today, we are announcing that we will launch a GHG crediting and offsetting scheme at the beginning of 2023 to support and incentivize efforts and investments in emission reduction and removal projects in all sectors in the Kingdom.”
During the SGI Forum, the Minister of Energy announced the signing of a Joint Development Agreement with Saudi Aramco for one of the largest planned Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS) hubs in the world.
The center in Jubail Industrial City will start operating by 2027 and be able to extract and store 9 million mtpa of CO2 in its first phase, supporting Saudi Arabia’s aim to extract, use and store 44 mtpa of CO2 by 2035.
At this year’s SGI Forum, the Crown Prince also witnessed the launch of three pilot projects for carbon capture and utilization led by KAUST, NEOM and SEC; Alsafwa Cement Company and Ma’aden and Gulf Cryo, to further the implementation of the circular carbon economy framework and reduce emissions in hard-to-abate sectors.
At the Forum, the Saudi Arabian Mining Company (Ma'aden), one of the world's fastest growing mining companies and the largest mining and multi-commodity metals company in the Middle East, announced its plans to export blue ammonia as it seeks to support the global transition to sustainable energy.
Ma’aden has been given accreditation for a quantity of 138,000 tons of blue ammonia, representing one of the largest quantities approved in the world to date, while the company is also seeking to decarbonize its existing operations by adopting carbon capture technologies.
During the forum, Ma'aden signed a 20-year agreement with Gulf Cryo to build and operate a carbon dioxide capture plant at the Ma'aden Phosphate Complex in Ras Al Khair Industrial City.
‘Taking climate action international’
Also speaking on the opening morning of the SGI Forum, Abdulrahman AlFadley, Saudi Arabia’s Minister of Environment, Water and Agriculture said: “Saudi Arabia is taking environmental action on a national, regional and international level. As a global community, we have to work comprehensively and take multiple actions in parallel. In Saudi Arabia we have a clear strategy that identifies the gaps we have in our environmental policy and works to find nature-based solutions.”
Tree planting pledge
Since the launch of the Saudi Green Initiative, over 18 million trees have planted, and 17 new initiatives launched across the country to restore natural greenery and protect against the impacts of climate change.
Out of the total, 13 million trees planted in the Kingdom this year have been mangroves.
The regeneration of Saudi Arabia’s natural wetland forests is a living barrier against shoreline erosion and a natural defense against climate change, with the trees sequestering five times more carbon than tropical forests.
In contribution to the 10 billion trees target, this year NEOM has announced that 1.5 million hectares of land will be rehabilitated, and 100 million native trees, shrubs and grasses planted by 2030.
Protecting marine biodiversity
To protect marine biodiversity, an institution has been established to preserve coral reefs and protect the habitats of sea turtles in the Red Sea.
Saudi Arabia also announced that 60 thousand hectares of degraded land in the country have been rehabilitated.
Approximately 100 carefully chosen species of native and adaptive trees are being cultivated in dedicated nurseries before being planted in 62 approved sites around the country to restore natural vegetation cover, protect biodiversity and bind the soil to protect against dust storms.
These coordinated national measures have enabled the Kingdom to increase the size of areas under protection fourfold from what it was 2016.
Detailed information and updates on SGI initiatives are on display at the SGI Gallery in Sharm El Sheikh. Open until 18 November, the gallery will allow visitors to immerse themselves in the multitude of different projects being implemented across the country.
SGI was launched in 2021 to unify and amplify Saudi Arabia’s climate action, in line with the Kingdom’s Vision 2030. The initiatives under SGI demonstrate Saudi’s dedication to addressing climate change and regional environmental challenges including high temperatures, low rainfall, dust storms and desertification.
Saudi Arabia starts carbon-capture center as part of 2060 net-zero goalSaudi Arabia has established a carbon-capture sequestration center, as the state oil giant seeks to reach its goal of net-zero emissions by 2060.“I’m ... Energy
Saudi Arabia announces 13 new renewables projects in latest move towards net-zeroThirteen new renewables projects are currently under development, the Kingdom’s Minister of Energy Prince Abdulaziz bin Salman announced as the ... Energy
Saudi Arabia sends 4,000 tonnes of diesel to Yemen, part of new oil derivatives grantYemen has received a batch of diesel from Saudi Arabia at the port of Nashtoon in the al-Mahra governorate, the official Saudi Press Agency (SPA) ... Gulf