Samer Al-Atrush

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Energy minister Prince Abdulaziz bin Salman © FT montage: Bloomberg/AFP/Getty Images

When Paddy Padmanathan first pitched the idea of introducing a sliver of renewable energy into Saudi Arabia’s electricity supply, the state utility gave him short shrift.

The chief executive of Riyadh-based energy firm ACWA Power recalls being politely told to “go away” in 2007 after it was pointed out that the supplier was receiving oil at a “very competitive price”, far cheaper than solar.

It was a predictable response in the world’s top crude exporter, which has for decades happily burnt billions of barrels of oil to fuel power plants, desalination units and industries at heavily subsidised rates. “The incentive was not there”, says the Anglo-Sri Lankan executive.…  Seguir leyendo »