Saudi Arabia readies initial 1.4 GW tender

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Saudi Arabia has announced details of the tendering process for the second round of its National Renewable Energy Program (NREP) with requests for proposals for the first four projects opening in eight days’ time.

The 600 MW Al Faisaliah project near Jeddah is among the solar prizes on offer from Thursday, July 18, along with 300 MW facilities in Jeddah itself and at nearby Rabigh, and a 200 MW installation at Al Jawf, near Qurayyat.

That 1.4 GW slice of project capacity will be followed by two smaller ‘category A’ projects a fortnight later, on August 1.

A 50 MW solar project at Medina and a 20 MW facility at Rafha will be open for proposals on that date with the kingdom’s Renewable Energy Project Development Office (REPDO) announcing on Monday the smaller schemes “are designed to create greater opportunities for local companies to participate in the NREP”. That claim is likely to raise eyebrows in the boardroom of French developer EDF, which lost out to Saudi rival ACWA Power in the tender for the 300 MW Sakaka project in Saudi last year despite bidding a world record low price for the power generated.

Local contenders

The REPDO statement confirmed earlier reports the field of possible bidders has been narrowed down to 60 and added 28 of them are based in Saudi Arabia. The body responsible for running the tender – part of the kingdom’s Ministry of Energy, Industry and Mineral Resources – said it expects the initial six projects to attract investment of around SAR5.2 billion ($1.39 billion).

Crucially, the projects will include an unspecified local content requirement, which will consist of a percentage determined by the mechanism defined by the Local Content & Government Procurement Authority.

REPDO added a further six renewable energy projects would be tendered in the final quarter to complete the 12-project second round of the NREP. That final stage will presumably include the previously trailed, 20 MW solar project planned for Mahad Duhab.