Saudi Arabia embarks on utility-scale renewable energy projects

19 April 2017

Saudi Arabia is seeking bids for its first utility-scale renewable energy projects,following the launch of the round one request for proposal (RFP) stage by the country’s Energy,Industry and Mineral Resources Minister Khalid Al Falih.

The RFP is now live on a 300-MW solar photovoltaic (PV) project in Sakaka, with the RFP for a 400-MW wind project due to be released in weeks. The announcement was made at the inaugural Saudi ArabiaRenewable Energy Investment Forum.

Details regarding round two of the National Renewable Energy Program were also revealed which will have a total capacity of 1 020 MW, featuring a 400-MW wind farm in Doumat Al Jandal,together with 620 MW of solar PV projects across various sites.

Request for qualifications (RFQ) for these projects will go live during the last quarter of the year.Earlier this month,the Renewable Energy Project Development Office announced 51 qualified bidders for round one.

During the event,the Minister also launched the independent organisation King Abdullah City for Atomic and Renewable Energy’s National Center for Renewable Energy Data.

The centre will act as a central independent authority providing high precision renewable energy site information across the Kingdom,enabling developers to track data,de-risking private sector investments in the Kingdom’s renewable energy sector.

Saudi Arabia will develop a more buyer-focused market,through the separation of the administrative and financial functions of the Saudi Electricity Company, alongside separately developing its generation, transmission and distribution activities.Al Falih noted the importance of building a more competitive framework in “shaping an attractive environment for investors in line with Saudi Vision 2030 and the National Transformation Program 2020”.

With a view to building the Kingdom’s electricity generation capacity,the Minister noted that meeting “local, alongside regional, demand will make use of the Kingdom’s unique geographical location as a hub linking three continents”.

Winning bids for round one will be announced in November.The programme has set clear local content guidelines;requiring firms to source 30% of their supply chain domestically in round one. 

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