Solar power integration in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia
Albagami, Naif Faiz T.
Power systems around the globe are undergoing a transition from their traditional form to a modern version, able to host new and different types of generation. This is driven by policies related to renewables and climate change. The electricity system in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA) has not been thoroughly discussed in the literature, which makes it difficult to understand the nature of the transition in the biggest network in the Middle East. The focus of this thesis is on providing a better understanding of the challenges in the KSA in deploying renewable generation. In order to deploy renewables in the KSA system, it is important to have a full understanding of the following: (1) the electricity system in the KSA; (2) the resources available; and since this thesis focuses on solar resources, it is further important to analyse (3) the integration of renewables. This thesis presents the historical development of the KSA electricity system in relation to such aspects as geography, social context and climate, while examining grid and load. Data is gathered from related entities in the Kingdom to construct a validated test network for the KSA. This allows for the creation of a credible realistic network with time series demand and generation data, all of which is described by this thesis. This work assesses the available resources, specifically those of solar energy, by considering two different technologies: photovoltaic (PV) and concentrating solar power (CSP). This helps to propose various suitable locations for solar power plants following an in-depth examination using a high-resolution ground-measurement dataset. Time series data of solar power is then employed through multi-objective optimisation to identify candidate solar generation systems considering technical and financial trade-offs. A range of scenarios of these different technologies are used to assess solar power plants’ integration into the KSA electricity system using an economic dispatch model. This approach illustrates the value of renewables integration in terms of potential fuel and operational cost savings.