He’s not thinking about LENR, apparently, but Ali Al-Naimi, the oil minister of Saudi Arabia said that by mid-century, there could no longer be a need for his country to export oil.
Reuters reports some comments he made in a panel discussion at a business and climate conference in Paris last week. Al-Naimi said:
“In Saudi Arabia, we recognize that eventually, one of these days, we are not going to need fossil fuels, I don’t know when, in 2040, 2050… so we have embarked on a program to develop solar energy,”
“Hopefully, one of these days, instead of exporting fossil fuels, we will be exporting gigawatts, electric ones. Does that sound good?”
One thing in addition to oil that Saudi Arabia has in abundance is sunshine, so developing solar energy does make sense in that respect. For domestic power needs, solar could be useful — but exporting gigawatts of electricity would seem to be a lot more problematic than shipping oil around the world. Not only would you have to have thousands of miles of high voltage power lines, they would also be passing through some of the most politically unstable countries on earth, and I would think would be a ripe target for those who would want to cause havoc withe energy supplies.
I think technologies like solar power and LENR will mean that the future of energy production lies more in local production — at domestic or neighborhood levels — rather than in large-scale central generation facilities.
Anyway, it’s interesting to see that Saudi Arabia sees the writing on the wall in the long-term, and recognizing the need to adapt and change to a new energy reality.