In addition to Saudi Arabia having pledges to achieve net-zero emissions and have half its energy production from renewables, the country has pledged to also become the world’s leader in artificial intelligence (AI) by 2030.
And while these three pledges may seem unconnected, it is quite the contrary.
In fact, AI is one of the factors that Saudi Arabia is betting on in order to reach its ambitious energy and climate goals.
The logic here is that AI and data analytics are seen as powerful drivers for the energy transition.
For example, AI and digital technologies will play a key role in the development of a carbon market for North Africa and the Middle East, which is also part of Saudi Arabia’s extensive plan to pursue sustainability.
In addition, they will provide excellent tools for the management and optimization of lower-carbon natural gas and nuclear power turbines, both of which are set to have a major share in Saudi Arabia’s energy mix, alongside renewable energy sources.
For instance, just yesterday, the Middle East’s biggest petrochemical maker Saudi Basic Industries Corp. (70% owned by Aramco) signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with the Saudi energy ministry for the development of renewable energy projects.
Furthermore, as one of the world’s current top oil exporting countries, Saudi Arabia has a pressing need to decarbonize its hard-to-abate sectors using carbon capture, use and sequestration (CCUS).
And to make the process safer, less volatile, more cost-effective, and less emissions-intensive, AI will certainly be a critical component.
New technologies, such as green hydrogen (also on the list of Saudi Arabia’s ambitions, as well as blue hydrogen), will also require the use of AI and digital solutions to improve performance.