Saudi Arabia reportedly reduces NREP phase II bidders to around 60 companies

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Global law firm Eversheds Sutherland has reported Saudi Arabia’s Renewable Energy Project Development Office (REPDO) has pre-qualified around 60 bidders for the 1.51 GW second round of the nation’s National Renewable Energy Program (NREP).

An Eversheds representative told pv magazine the information had come from one of its clients. pv magazine has thus far been unable to obtain confirmation of the development from REPDO.

The Eversheds briefing issued yesterday states a request for proposals related to the second round of the national program is expected next month.

The first round of the NREP included the 300 MW Sakaka solar project secured in a tender by Saudi developer ACWA Power, which this week sold almost half the shares in its renewable energy project development business to the Chinese state-owned Silk Road Fund. With dozens of bidders reportedly pre-qualified for the second round of the program it would be a huge surprise if ACWA Power were not among them.

Domestic interest

pv magazine reported in March that the second round of the program will feature four larger projects. A 600 MW facility will be built at Al Faisaliah and a 300 MW installation at Rabigh. With both of those sites near Jeddah, another 300 MW installation is planned in Jeddah itself and a fourth large scheme, in Al Jawf province near Qurayyat, will have a generation capacity of 200 MW.

The Eversheds briefing described those projects as category B, meaning they would be financed by borrowings. Three smaller, category A schemes are also planned, to be financed by corporate finance as well as borrowing, according to Eversheds. Those projects will be a 50 MW installation at Medinah, a 45 MW facility at Rafha, in the Northern Borders province, and a 20 MW scheme at Mahad Duhab.

The Zawya Middle Eastern portal of news service Reuters in March reported a call for expressions of interest in the second round of the NREP had prompted 256 responses, with more than 100 of them from Saudi companies. Reuters stated the second round projects are expected to attract investment of around $1.5 billion.