Saudi Arabia is set to join the global wind power sector next month with the commissioning of its first utility-scale turbine, said supplier GE.

Local energy giant Saudi Aramco will deploy the GE 2.17-120 machine at its plant at Turaif, in the northwest of the country, as a demonstration project run in conjunction with GE ahead of future large-scale deployment in the oil-rich kingdom.

Saudi Arabia plans to deploy 9.5GW of wind and solar by 2023 under its National Renewables Programme.

The kingdom said resource measurements show it has some of the best wind conditions in the region.

Hisham Albahkali, GE CEO for Saudi Arabia and Bahrain, told a ceremony held to mark the turbine’s arrival: “This is a momentous occasion as it highlights that wind energy generation in the Kingdom is ‘real’ and heralds a new era of renewable energy, that clearly shows to the world that action is being taken to support the renewable goals of Saudi Vision 2030.”

Power from the Turaif turbine – which is due for commissioning next month – will displace diesel generation by 18,600 barrels of oil equivalent per year, said the project partners.