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UK and Saudi Arabia sign clean energy agreement

The UK and Saudi Arabian governments have signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) which commits the two countries to working together to develop technologies that will reduce carbon emissions.13 Mar 2018

The UK and Saudi Arabia will share technical knowledge and expertise on clean energy, including smart grids, electric vehicles and carbon capture usage and storage, which is a technique that traps, stores and uses carbon emissions as feedstock.

The agreement forms part of the UK's industrial strategy and Saudi Arabia's Vision 2030, which is aimed at diversifying the country's energy mix and grow its renewable energy sector.

The two countries will have an annual Energy and Industry Dialogue to identify future areas of collaboration. Opportunities are likely to lie in areas such as artificial intelligence, the future of mobility and a shift towards clean energy on a global scale.

UK business secretary Greg Clark said: “The global shift to clean growth is one of the most foreseeable and significant global economic trends and will transform many sectors of the economy, including power, transport, construction, energy-intensive industries and agriculture.”

The UK laid out a clean growth strategy in October last year which energy expert Ian McCarlie of Pinsent Masons, the law firm behind, said was “extremely ambitious”.

The strategy includes plans to incentivise the installation of more energy efficient measures in the home, and measures to help cut emissions stemming from commercial premises, such as through a new industry energy efficiency scheme, a possible raising of minimum standards of energy efficiency for rented commercial buildings, and industrial decarbonisation and energy efficiency action plans for seven energy intensive industries.

Other Middle Eastern states are also looking at moving to cleaner energy sources. Last year the UAE said it would spend AED 600 billion ($163 billion) on developing its energy market, with the aim of producing 50% of its power from clean energy by 2050.