Saudi Arabia is known for its oil and sun-soaked deserts. In a move to secure the kingdom’s financial future, its name could soon become synonymous with renewable energy.
According to the New York Times, Prince Mohammed bin Salman decided that Saudi energy company ACWA Power would spearhead the creation of a $300 million solar farm capable of powering 200,000 homes. And that’s just a drop in the bucket compared to what the Saudi government plans to spend on renewables.
“All the big developers are watching Saudi,” said Jenny Chase, an analyst at Bloomberg New Energy Finance, a market research firm. ... The renewables strategy finally started to take real shape when Khaled al-Falih took over as energy minister in 2016. Mr. Falih made solar and wind a priority for the kingdom, and set up a new unit last year to expedite the work. Much of the staff was drawn from Aramco.
Mr. Shehri, who had worked at Aramco before leading the kingdom’s renewables program, said he faced an “extremely challenging” task. Meeting Saudi Arabia’s targets would require contracts for a series of new facilities to be awarded by the end of 2020. “The only way this was possible,” he said, “was because we have done previous work.”
Saudi Arabia, with its vast oil resources, would seem an unlikely champion for renewables. But the country’s location and climate mean it has plenty of promising sites for solar and wind farms.
By 2019, the Times writes, they’ll have thrown $7 billion at the creation of solar and wind farms. Read the rest
The U.S. government's ban on laptops and other large electronic devices in the cabins of flights from Saudi Arabia to the United States has been lifted, Saudi Arabian Airlines confirmed today. Read the rest
Senator Joe Manchin [D-WV, @Sen_JoeManchin, +1 304-342-5855] is a right-wing Democrat Senator whose inglorious career includes breaking with his party to endorse President Trump's deal to sell record quantities of weapons to the Saudis. Read the rest
"What has changed... is that the House of Saud is now dealing directly with a member of the Trump family." Read the rest
A teen boy has been arrested in Saudi Arabia for “unethical behaviour,” after he did a cute internet video chat with an American YouTube starlet. Read the rest
The "In Canada lesbians are considered hot!" campaign is the brainchild of Robbie Picard, a tar-sands booster from Fort McMurray, Alberta. Read the rest
What do you do if you're a spy and you want to make untraceable transfers of dirty money without having your funding of your country's nominal enemies exposed to the voters whose money you're spending? You hire Mossack Fonseca to open a numbered account in an offshore tax-haven, naturally. Read the rest
The Starbucks café in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia has a sign on the front door barring women from entering. Starbucks will accept their money, but only if the womens' "driver" places the order on their behalf.
From the Express Tribune:
The notice, in Arabic as well as English, reads, “Please no entry for ladies, only send your driver to order. Thank you.”
The Commission for the Promotion of Virtue and Prevention of Vice, the most influential law enforcing authority in the Kingdom, ordered the café’s management not to admit women, according to Emirates 24/7.
Starbucks issued the following statement:
Starbucks in Saudi Arabia adheres to the local customs by providing separate entrances for families as well as single people. All our stores provide equal amenities, service, menu, and seating to men, women and families. We are working as quickly as possible as we refurbish our Jarir store, so that we may again welcome all customers in accordance with local customs.
Fedor Selivanov / Shutterstock.com Read the rest
In Saudi Arabia, drug smugglers are routinely executed. But it's hard to imagine that the Saudi prince, who is being held in Lebanon after officials found two tons of amphetamine stuffed in his private jet bound for Saudi Arabia, will receive any punishment beyond a stern talking to.
Image: Shutterstock Read the rest
The BBC quoted an anonymous Saudi source who insisted that the arms the country imports en masse from the UK are only funnelled to the good Syrian rebels and not the Al Qaeda affiliated al-Nusra Front. Read the rest
If oil stays below $50 a barrel for five years, the Saudis' cash reserve will be exhausted, and with it will also go the social stability that lavish spending for the Saudi elites brings. Read the rest
Prosecutors for the county of Los Angeles say they will not file charges against a Saudi prince recently arrested for sexual assault at a gated mansion on the edge of Beverly Hills.
A civil lawsuit filed in L.A. County Superior Court on Sept. 25 says he attacked multiple women inside the home for several days. Read the rest
The Saudi royals -- you know, the charming people who exported intolerant, extremist Wahabiism and whose scions get to rape their US-based servants with impunity -- have hired the biggest, most ruthless PR firms in America to run their PR machine. Read the rest
The 'despicable' Saudi prince accused of sexually assaulting 'multiple women' over 3 days in a $37 million Beverly Hills compound has disappeared. Read the rest
Police were called to a gated property in the exclusive Los Angeles community of Beverly Glen today “after a caretaker at the home reported a disturbance.” A man identified as 28-year-old prince Majed Abdulaziz Al-Saud was arrested on suspicion of forced oral copulation of an adult.
An LAPD spokesperson said that a diplomatic liason desk determined that Al-Saud does not have immunity in this case. He is scheduled to appear in court Oct. 19.
From the Los Angeles Times:
Neighbor Tennyson Collins said a resident reported seeing a bleeding woman scream for help as she tried to scale the property’s 8-foot-high wall Wednesday afternoon.
When Collins drove home from work after 1:30 p.m., police followed his car through the gates and onto the property, which he described as a compound. The website Zillow valued the 22,000-square-foot property at $37 million.
"Saudi prince arrested at L.A. compound for alleged sex crime" [LA Times/Joe Serna]
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Images and video in this post contain graphic images of death, and may be disturbing.
Anything remotely gay is a Very Bad Crime in Saudi Arabia.