Saudi Arabia’s state electricity utility is seeking bids from international developers to build two solar-power plants in the kingdom’s northern region.
The plants will each generate as much as 50 megawatts using photo-voltaic technology, which produces power directly for solar cells, according to a tender announcement that Saudi Electricity Company posted on its website. The utility is asking international companies to submit expressions of interest for the projects by June 20. The plants will be located at Al-Jouf and Rafha, Saudi Electricity said.
The tender is the first by Saudi Arabia to seek international partners to cooperate in building and operating renewable-energy facilities, according to the Middle East Solar Industry Association. The country is scaling back its ambitions for renewable energy and currently seeks to generate 9,500 megawatts by 2030 from sources such as solar and wind power. An earlier proposal called for more than US$100 billion in spending through 2040 to build 41,000 megawatts of capacity.
Saudi Arabia is developing renewable energy to take advantage of its ample sunlight and to diversify energy supply amid rising demand. Yet renewable resources will only account for about 10 per cent of total power capacity compared with the previous target of about 50 per cent, energy minister Khalid Al Falih said last week during a presentation of the kingdom’s long-term strategy to overhaul the economy. The government is now counting on increased output of natural gas to help cut its reliance on crude oil.
HSBC Holdings’ Saudi unit is acting as financial consultant for the tender, DLA Piper is legal adviser, and DNV is technical consultant, Saudi Electricity said.
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