Country:Saudi Arabia
Policy status:In Force
Policy Type:
Energy Efficiency Policy Targets:Lighting, Commercial/Industrial Equipment, Buildings, Transport, Residential Appliances
Energy Efficiency Description:

Saudi Arabia has moved forward to develop and implement energy efficiency standards and mandates on key sectors and end-uses linked to their energy saving potential. These standards are focused on high-value actions in buildings and in the transport sector. For example, new buildings are now required to be insulated to a basic level whereas previously there was no insulation requirement (over 70% of all buildings are currently not insulated). The key standards being developed and implemented are described below.


Air conditioning

Improving the efficiency of air-conditioning units is a priority area because of its potential to reduce energy consumption. Residential and commercial buildings consume 84% of all grid electricity generation in Saudi Arabia and, of that building electricity consumption, 65% is used by air conditioners (Al-ghamdi, Al-gargossh and Alshaibani, 2015), approximately 126 TWh in 2012. Recognising this potential, the SEEC developed minimum energy performance standards (MEPS) on air conditioners in 2012. Prior to 2012 energy efficiency standards on air conditioners were ineffective and enforcement was poor; consequently, Saudi air conditioners were less efficient than those in India and Iran. By 2015, the MEPS for small capacity air conditioners will match the energy efficiency rating of air conditioners in the United States (Alabbadi, 2014). This will be a 35% improvement on the average energy efficiency rating of air conditioners in 2012.


The energy savings potential of the new air conditioner standards is large and will lead to significant electricity savings. The IEA estimates that the electricity savings from the announced standard would be 25 TWh by 2020. If Saudi Arabia strengthened its standards to the standard efficiency rating for air conditioners in the European Union then it would save an additional 13 TWh of electricity consumption.


These electricity savings would translate to primary fossil fuel savings in Saudi Arabia’s power sector. Power generation in Saudi Arabia is entirely fossil fuel-fired at an average conversion efficiency of 33%. Assuming that electricity savings from the implemented air conditioner standards were applied proportionately to the generation mix, Saudi Arabia would avoid 6.6 Mtoe of primary energy, or 47 million barrels of oil-equivalent. Assuming these avoided barrels were diverted to the export market and sold at the current global crude price of USD 57 per barrel then Saudi Arabia would raise export revenues by 1% adding another USD 2 billion in revenue. If Saudi Arabia adopted accelerated standards in line with those in the European Union it would avoid 10 Mtoe of primary energy or 71 million barrels of oil-equivalent. This would raise an additional USD 4 billion in revenue and returning an additional 2%. For major energy producers and exporters, end-use energy efficiency adds an efficiency premium to export revenues where avoided primary energy is diverted for exported.


Vehicle efficiency

In response to increasing vehicle usage and growing energy consumption per capita in the transport sector, Saudi Arabia has recently applied its first efficiency standards and energy efficiency labels for new light-duty vehicles (LDVs). The average fuel efficiency of new LDVs in 2012 was 12.2 km per litre, lower than in the United States, Mexico, Australia, China, India and the European Union. As of January 2015, new vehicle efficiency standards are in force and are estimated to improve average efficiency of new vehicles by 28% by 2020. Standards follow the US corporate average fuel-economy model whereby vehicle distributors must comply with a fleet average rating based on vehicle class and size. Standards have also been developed for used vehicle imports following a MEPS model and based on vehicle class and size. Supporting the vehicle efficiency standards is a labelling scheme which states the efficiency performance of each specific vehicle model categorised by either passenger cars or light-duty trucks. The labels were rolled out in 2014 and evaluate vehicles on a six-point scale of efficiency.

Last modified: Fri, 25 Sep 2015 17:14:29 CEST