Saudi Arabia to invite solar, wind bids in April, says minister

Saudi Arabia's energy future is likely to diversify into more solar, wind and nuclear.

Details of Saudi Arabia’s forthcoming clean energy auction have been released by the country’s energy, industry and mineral resources minister Khalid Al-Falih.

As part of the Kingdom’s new energy master plan – first announced at the World Future Energy Summit in Abu Dhabi last month – a 700 MW solar and wind tender will be issued on April 17.

Interested developers can apply for requests to qualify for bidding on February 20, with construction of the winning bids set to commence in September.

According to Al-Falih, 300 MW of the overall tender will be ringfenced for solar projects located in the al-Jouf area in the north of the country, with 400 MW of wind capacity to be built in Tabuk. Both projects, the minister claims, will attract some of the world’s lowest prices.

“The terms on renewable contracts will be motivating so that the cost of generating power from these renewable sources will be the lowest in the world,” he told a press conference in Riyadh. “These projects have a significant size, and will the largest in the region size-wise, and the first to be tendered through private-public partnership in Saudi Arabia.”

The Saudi government is planning to invest between $30 to $50 billion in renewables, and has targeted the installation of 9.5 GW of clean power by 2023 as the nation seeks to wean itself of oil dependency in the wake of persistent and record-low oil prices.