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 Kicks off First RFQ for Renewable Energy Program

Riyadh- The Renewable Energy Project Development Office, a newly created body of the kingdom’s energy ministry, has launched its first Request for Proposal (RFQ) for companies interested in bidding for 700 megawatts of solar and wind energy projects.

The Ministry of Energy said that the requests will be managed through an e-platform specially developed to facilitate the bidding process and to secure credibility and speed of proceedings. Companies will be able to learn about the first phase’s requests, download them, and then submit them through the e-platform.

The office has set March 20 a final date to receive requests, and April 10 to announce the qualified requests.

Khalid Al Falih, Saudi Arabia’s energy minister, said that this launch marks the starting point for a long and sustained program of renewable energy deployment in Saudi Arabia. These projects will not only diversify the power mix, but also catalyze economic development and support long-term prosperity in line with Vision 2030 goals, which include creating a new renewable industry and support the build-up of this promising sector.

He added that the Kingdom’s goal is to make the national renewable energy program among the most attractive, competitive and well-executed government renewable energy investment programs in the world, amid the availability of necessary infrastructure.

Selected firms will be able to access the site assessments that have been carried out for both the Sakaka and Midyan areas, which will house 300MW of solar photovoltaic (PV) and a 400MW wind project respectively.

For this transition, the ministry has adopted a commercial sample that includes the involvement of independent producers in renewable energy sector, which will provide important opportunities to attract investments and create new jobs.

The projects will be backed by 25-year power purchase agreements for Solar PV and 20 year for Wind. Qualified companies will have the chance to visit the sites dedicated for the projects to learn about the technical information and evaluate them during the bidding phase.

Qualified companies are allowed to partake in the first RFP phase, which will be inaugurated on April 17. For any company whose pre-qualification application is unsuccessful as either a manager or technical role in the first round will still remain eligible to participate in future projects.

Egypt to invite private investors into electricity sector

The Agouza neighborhood, background, is seen during a power cut, in Giza, Egypt, Sunday, June 2, 2013. (AP Photo/Hassan Ammar)
The Agouza neighborhood, background, is seen during a power cut, in Giza, Egypt, Sunday, June 2, 2013. (AP Photo/Hassan Ammar)
Cairo, Asharq Al-Awsat—Egypt’s Minister of electricity Ahmad Emam said on Wednesday that Egypt was planning to solicit bids for new power plants from private sector investors.

He added that his ministry aimed at 6,250 MW of capacity to the national electricity grid under the existing Build, Own, Operate (BOO) scheme, as part of the government’s five-year plan. Emam said the project will take 24 to 30 months to complete.

Emam said these figures were represented in part by 2,250 MW from the Beni Suef electricity generating station using the combined-cycle system, and 200 MW from solar power, using photo-voltaic cells, by establishing 10 solar stations each producing 20 MW. Initial discussions on the projects are scheduled to begin with experienced local and foreign investors, who will be expected to provide proof of their expertise, later this month.

Last May, the Ministry of Electricity released the terms-of-reference handbook for companies which had already qualified to build the Daryut power plant, with a capability of 2,250 MW using the combined-cycle system. Another terms-of-reference handbook was produced for the construction of an electricity power plant, with a capability of 250 MW, using wind energy, in the Gulf of Suez.

The minister said a tender will be issued for the construction of Qena steam power plant to produce 1,300 MW of electricity during the next month. He added that the applicants will need to design, fund, construct, own and operate the plant, and sell electricity power to the Egyptian Electric Holding Company for 25 years, under an electricity purchasing agreement.

The minister added that these plants were part of the seventh five-year plan, covering the years 2012–2017, which the electricity sector endeavors to implement within the framework of an increase in demand for electricity.

Over the last two years, Egypt has witnessed a constant stream of disruptions of its electricity supplies because of increased consumption and fuel shortages at power plants, which it is trying to compensate for by building new power plants and increasing the efficiency of existing plants.

In addition, it also hopes to reduce an existing deficit in the Egyptian electricity grid, which stands at between 2,000 and 2,500 MW, with electricity grid linkage projects with neighboring states.

The Egyptian government has signed a memorandum of understanding on electricity linkage with Saudi Arabia in June, in a project worth USD 1.6 billion. The Saudi minister of electricity, Abdulah Al-Hossein, said the capacity of the link between the two countries will be 3,000 MW, adding that “it will be a major axis of Arab electricity linkage . . .to establish an infrastructure for electricity trade between Arab countries, in preparation for the establishment of an Arab electricity market, and equip it to link to the European electricity system.”