Solar In The News


Shocked, Shocked: Biofuels Are Bad, Saudis Say;
Saudi Oil Minister Favor's Solar Energy

PhotoWSJ.com- April 10, 2008 -- Here’s a dog-bites-man moment: The Saudi Arabian oil minister says biofuels are a bad idea. Speaking at an oil-industry conference in Paris, Ali al-Naimi joined the steadily growing anti-biofuel chorus.

Reuters reports: “Let’s be realistic, ethanol and biofuels will not contribute to the protection of the global environment by reducing (carbon dioxide) emissions, they will not increase energy security, nor will they reduce dependency on fossil fuels to any appreciable degree,” Ali al-Naimi told an oil conference. “Biofuels are not the solution,” he added.

But the political chorus is growing louder, too, especially as grain and food prices soar around the world. British Prime Minister Gordon Brown blamed biofuels for food shortages in a letter to fellow G-8 members today. Countries like the U.K. and Germany are reconsidering EU plans to boost the use of biofuels in coming years

So what’s Mr. al-Naimi in favor of? Well, what else does Saudi Arabia have in spades?

That's why we have to look beyond biofuels... and concentrate instead on truly renewable sources of energy," he said, adding that solar power was the best, clean energy source available throughout the world. "It is abundant, clean and available to all," he said. "There is a great chance to expand its usage to all parts of the world especially in developing countries and to all economic sectors and activities including electrical power generation, manufacturing and so on," Naimi said. What was needed, he said, was to expand the use of solar energy and to make solar cells more effective to make the transmission of solar power more cost effective. "For our part we are giving that sort of energy special attention," he added.

Copyright 2008 Muriel Boselli - Paris for REUTERS. All Rights Reserved

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