This paper presents a techno-economic evaluation of the electricity generation options available to meet electricity demand in three remote areas not interconnected to the main power grid of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA). It considers two main alternatives: 1) extension of the main grid and 2) development of new generation resources in the isolated local grids. In the analysis, the electricity transmitted by the main grid is generated by oil-fired (or natural gas) combined cycle power plants (90%) and from PV and wind (10%) -consistent with KSA’s plans for 2023- while the local isolated grids would include a combination of PV, wind, diesel, oil, HFO and li-ion batteries.
Results show that under most scenarios of capital costs, fuel prices, and costs of air pollution, developing the isolated grids is a better alternative than extending the main grid.
Keywords renewable energy resources, distributed generation, energy systems for power generation, emissions, optimal energy mix