A Saudi man walks on a street past a field of solar panels at the King Abdulaziz city of Sciences and Technology, Al-Oyeynah Research Station, May 2012
Fahad Shadeed / REUTERS

U.S. President Donald Trump’s visit to Saudi Arabia last month cast attention on a kingdom in transition. The country is currently working to transform its vast oil wealth into a modern, sustainable economy fit for the twenty-first century. Central to this goal is a transformation of the Saudi energy sector, which the National Renewable Energy Program was recently established to help bring about. Saudi Energy Minister Khalid al-Falih recently announced that under NREP, Riyadh aims to deploy 9.5 gigawatts of renewable energy capacity by 2023 and attract $30 billion to $50 billion of investment in renewables by 2030.

Despite the fanfare these announcements

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