A1 Journal article (refereed), original research

Role of seawater desalination in the management of an integrated water and 100% renewable energy based power sector in Saudi Arabia

Open Access publication

Publication Details
Authors: Caldera Upeksha, Bogdanov Dmitrii, Afanasyeva Svetlana, Breyer Christian
Publisher: MDPI
Publication year: 2018
Language: English
Related Journal or Series Information: Water
Volume number: 10
Issue number: 1
ISSN: 2073-4441
JUFO-Level of this publication: 1
Open Access: Open Access publication


This work presents a pathway for Saudi Arabia to transition from the 2015 power structure to a 100% renewable energy-based system by 2050 and investigates the benefits of integrating the power sector with the growing desalination sector. Saudi Arabia can achieve 100% renewable energy power system by 2040 while meeting increasing water demand through seawater reverse osmosis (SWRO) and multiple effect distillation (MED) desalination plants. The dominating renewable energy sources are PV single-axis tracking and wind power plants with 243 GW and 83 GW, respectively. The levelised cost of electricity (LCOE) of the 2040 system is 49 €/MWh and decreases to 41 €/MWh by 2050. Corresponding levelised cost of water (LCOW) is found to be 0.8 €/m3 and 0.6 €/m3. PV single-axis tracking dominates the power sector. By 2050 solar PV accounts for 79% of total electricity generation. Battery storage accounts for 41% of total electricity demand. In the integrated scenario, due to flexibility provided by SWRO plants, there is a reduced demand for battery storage and power-to-gas (PtG) plants as well as a reduction in curtailment. Thus, the annual levelised costs of the integrated scenario is found to be 1-3% less than the non-integrated scenario.

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Last updated on 2019-13-03 at 12:00