Saudi oil minister slams biofuels, favors solar

PARIS, FRANCE - Saudi Arabia's oil minister slammed biofuels, saying they did not protect the environment or help supply security, but added solar power had to be considered one of the best clean energy sources.

"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.

The rise in biofuel use was largely due to government subsidies, high import taxes and financial favoritism vis-a-vis others, he added.

"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 perhaps the best clean energy source available in all parts of 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 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.


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