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Qualification Applications for Saudi Arabia’s First Wind Energy Project | ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
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The Tarfaya wind farm in Morocco. (AFP)

Riyadh – As of August 10, Saudi Arabia will close the qualification applications for Dumat al-Jandal project, which will strengthen the kingdom’s presence in the field of wind energy and increase electricity productions via renewable resources.

The Energy Ministry’s Renewable Energy Project Development Office (REPDO) had previously announced requests to qualify for the 400 megawatt wind project in al-Jouf region, north of the kingdom.

The ministry had earlier said the Sakaka 300 MW solar PV plant and a 400 MW wind project in Midyan were part of the first round of projects.

In April, Saudi Arabia kicked off the massive renewable program in Riyadh by announcing the beginning of the bidding process for the Sakaka project, which is expected to come online by 2018-19. The Sakaka project is estimated to cost around $300 million.

Qualified bidders for the Dumat al-Jandal project will enter the request for proposal process, due to start on August 29 and close in January 2018. Companies whose pre-qualification application is unsuccessful for this round retain eligibility to participate in future rounds under the National Renewable Energy Program (NREP).

NREP aims to generate 9.5 gigawatts of electricity from renewable energy annually by 2023 involving 60 projects, and 3.45 GW by 2020 as part of the National Transfer Program NTP 2020 within the framework of Vision 2030.

The ministry said the first round aims to generate 700 MW of renewable energy followed by 1.02 GW in the second round, which will be split into 620 MW solar and 400 MW wind. The bidding of the second round could happen between the fourth quarter of this year and first quarter of 2018.

Saudi Arabia has devised strategic goals to increase the industrial sector’s contribution to the domestic product. Factory numbers in the country increased last year by 10 percent in comparison to 2015.

The introduction of renewable energy to Saudi Arabia is meant to help the country reduce its dependence on liquid fuels for power generation, help the kingdom boost local manufacturing and create jobs.

Based on the Vision 2030, Saudi Arabia aims to diversify its income resources and increase investments through a series of reforms and procedures to the structure of the domestic economy. This is starting to show through the NTP 2020 and Public Investment Fund (PIF) which is increasing investments in several vital sectors primarily technology.

“We are pursuing one of the most ambitious renewable energy development programs globally, installing 9.5 GW of wind, solar and other technologies over the next six years… We are seeking for the Kingdom, in the medium term, to become a nation that develops, manufactures and exports the advanced technologies of renewable energy production,” stated Saudi Minister of Energy, Industry and Mineral Resources Khalid al-Falih.

The Ministry of Energy, Industry and Mineral Resources is considering several options and methods to promote the industrial sector and is expected to hold a series of meetings with investors to discuss current challenges and means to overcome them.