A $200 billion plan to create the world’s biggest solar-power-generation project by Saudi Arabia in partnership with SoftBank Group Corp has been put on hold. According to the Wall Street Journal (WSJ) report, Japan’s SoftBank had announced a plan to invest in Saudi Arabia’s solar project in March, 2018.
The project was anticipated to produce about 200 gigawatts (GW) of power by 2030 which is three times more than what Saudi Arabia would need to light up the entire country. Saudi Arabia government officials said, no one is actively working on the project, and instead, aiming for another transformation project in the kingdom which is to be announced in late October.
Saudi Arabia had earlier partnered with SoftBank for $100 billion fund for investments on technology companies that provided immense funds into startups. Suspension of the solar project marks a withdrawal of the partnership that has pursued progressive ideas, the WSJ reported.
In New York last March, the plan was announced as an extension of their partnership by Masayoshi Son, Chief Executive of SoftBank and Mohammed bin Salman, Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia. According to the WSJ report, the project would have turned Saudi kingdom into a giant of solar power. SoftBank has not yet released any confirmation statement and declined to comment.
A Saudi official said, the announcement expected to be made in late October will help to clarify the country’s renewable energy goals. After further consultation, Saudi Arabia has considered the development of high-profile project to boost the renewable energy. A senior adviser to the Saudi government said, “SoftBank-led project is easy to grab one’s attention but difficult to do any execution.” However, Saudi government representatives didn’t respond further to request to comment on the new project.
Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman is continuously on the mission to fast-forward the conservative country into a modern kingdom. His ambitious blueprint, ‘Vision 2030’ includes more focus on technology, opens up its economy and plans to move away from being a country that is entirely dependent on oil. The Saudi kingdom is working up on more practical and broader strategy to enhance the renewable energy.