Egypt and Jordan: solar tenders shuffle onwards

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The Middle East Solar Industry Association (MESIA) has released a statement saying it is anticipating the deadline for the submission of proposals to build, own and operate (the so-called ‘BOO’ agreement) a 200 MW solar PV farm in Egypt to be postponed for six months from 21st June to 21st December.

The news is in relation to the West of Nile PV project, located in the West Nile district of the country. Egypt’s Electricity Transmission Company (EETC) and the New and Renewable Energy Authority (NREA) had announced the project’s tender in August last year.

According to MESIA, the tender extension is the result of red tape. Specifically, MESIA says, the "EETC has not yet responded to the clarifications raised by developers in accordance with the terms of the RFP [this is a formal request to submit a proposal] and there remain some key inputs/documents outstanding."

Also, there is a tender prerequisite that "prequalified developers would enter into a Joint Site Measurement Framework Agreement to jointly carry out a solar measurement program, geotechnical site investigations and a topographical survey that has not yet happened," added MESIA.

Jordan’s 200 MW Masdar project

Things work rather faster in the neighboring country of Jordan. According to pv magazine information, Abu Dhabi-based Masdar, which was given the right to develop, own and operate a 200 MW PV park in Jordan, has started the process of tendering the project’s engineering, procurement and construction (EPC).

Specifically, Masdar met with the bidders on Wednesday, while yesterday there was a visit to the site, and the date to submit the tender documents is 10th July.

Masdar won the right to develop the 200 MW project without a tender. Instead, it was a direct decision from Jordan’s government, which worked contrary to the transparent tender procedure Jordan had run previously. Furthermore, Jordan has agreed to provide Masdar’s PV project with land, logistics and a line to connect the project to the electricity grid.

Jordan’s solar energy policy has been very successful and has triggered a series of PV park developments mostly based on transparent tenders (excluding the Masdar project and the 100 MW Quweira PV farm to be owned by the state). Jordan has also designed a lively net-metering scheme. Egypt has based its own solar energy policy based on the Jordanian example.

However, where Egypt’s model varies significantly is that it adopted a set FIT policy, while Jordan’s FITs are the result of competitive tenders (unless dark forces are at play).