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Saudis move to accelerate sluggish renewables push

Riyadh’s ambitions to enter the green hydrogen sector sit uncomfortably with a slow renewables build-out

When state oil giant Saudi Aramco made its first foray into blue hydrogen last September, few were surprised. However, the launch two months earlier by government-affiliated Acwa Power of what would be one of the world’s largest green hydrogen projects generated considerably more fanfare—and not only for its size. Saudi Arabia is famously well-endowed with sunshine, but after some 11 years nominally committed to rolling out renewables, installed solar and wind capacity stood at just 413MW at the end of 2020. And domestical electricity requirements are vast. Riyadh is clearly cognisant of the gulf between stated ambition and results, and the renewables programme is accelerating to reflect a

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