Saudi Arabia Pushes for Wind Energy Project


Riyadh- Advancing renewable energy in the desert nation, Saudi Arabia announced on Sunday moving forward with the first of a kind wind energy project.

The move comes to embolden the private sector’s contribution to the vital domain of green energy.

Energy and industry ministry offices released a statement on receiving bids for the “Dumat al-Jandal” energy project in Al-Jawf province, expected to let out an average of 400 megawatts (MW) of electricity produced by wind turbines.

Requests to qualify for the 400 MW wind project in the north of the kingdom will close on Aug. 10, and proposals will be received from Aug. 29. Bidding closes in January next year, the ministry’s Renewable Energy Project Development Office (REPDO) said.

Saudi Arabia plans to develop 30 solar and wind projects over the next 10 years as part of a $50 billion program to boost power generation and cut its oil consumption. The country will produce 10 percent of its power from renewable energy by 2023, Energy Minister Khalid Al-Falih said in April.

“As we enter the second half of 2017, we remain committed to ensuring our ambitious program remains on-track to deliver the value and opportunities targeted,” Al-Falih said in the statement.

The government has announced plans to offer tenders for renewable energy projects to generate 700 megawatts this year. The country sought bids in April for a 300-megawatt solar project and aims to announce a winner in November, the ministry said.

Winning bidders will build, own and operate the power plants in partnership with the government; the Dumat al-Jandal project will be backed by a 20-year power purchase agreement and Sakaka, by a 25-year agreement.

Developing renewable energy is key to displace high-value oil it would rather export. It will also help the kingdom boost local manufacturing and create jobs.

Saudi Arabia aims to generate 9.5 gigawatts (GW) of electricity from renewable energy annually by 2023 involving 60 projects. The renewables initiative involves investment estimated between $30 billion and $50 billion. Shehri said he expects solar projects to be dominant in the near future.

The ministry has said the first round will be 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 whose bidding could happen between the fourth quarter of this year and first quarter of 2018.

The 620 MW Shehri said will not be one site. It could be broken down into 2-3 projects.

Saudi Arabia Emboldens Renewable Energy Investments, Localization is Condition to Advanced Industries


Riyadh – Projects aimed at producing a sufficient power supply for local demand and international exports are underway in Saudi Arabia, said Saleh Al-Awaji, the Saudi undersecretary for electricity affairs at the Ministry of Water and Electricity.

The ministry had promised the private sector investment openings in the renewable energy sector.

Speaking to Asharq Al-Awsat, Awaji clarified that the abovementioned efforts are part and parcel of an initiative endorsed by the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Salman bin Abdulaziz for increasing power production reliant on renewable energy sources.

Power output by the renewable energy sector is meant to bridge the gap between oil-dependent energy and the shortage in electricity supplies worldwide. Renewable energy production, when ready, will move to the international and regional markets on exported power supplies.

“Through this initiative, we seek to strengthen the role played by the private sector, its participation in renewable energy projects and the localization of advanced industries,” Awaji said.

The energy official added that “doors are open for the private sector to invest in green energy– the construction of power plants and tapping into renewable sources such as solar energy, wind and waste.

Next to numbered goals, Awaji said that power production will be stepped up by the initiative.

One of the program’s basic terms and conditions is increasing power production, next to localizing the power supply chain.

Awaji stressed the need of entrepreneurs planning to invest in renewable energy is to work on the localization of related advanced industries, and to provide associated expertise.

“We recognize that in the first stages, it is difficult to achieve large percentages of localization, but with incremental progress through time this can be achieved by developers, reaching a 100 percent which is projected by the National Transformation Program, Saudi Vision 2030,” Awaji added.

Expanding energy programs in Saudi Arabia, making it at best inclusive, will not only promote vigorous diversity within the sector, but also help put the oil-rich country’s economic wheel at a refreshing advantage.

Saudi Arabia has announced its national program on the premise of stepping out from oil-dependency by expanding each of its economic private and public sectors.

Many investments and initial public offerings have taken the media by storm since, with the latest being the largest issuance of Islamic sovereign bonds ever noted. The bonds were offered under what is known the Sukuk program.

“The initiative (revitalizing renewable energy) does not only benefit the electricity sector but profits developing small and medium enterprises,” Awaji said.

“Most of the works needed by renewable energy programs are services and products that can be delivered by these companies in cooperation with relevant authorities,” Awaji explained.