Qatari utility mulls jump to 800 MW tender as consortia submit bids


Major industrial groups, including Marubeni and Korea Electric Power Corp. (Kepco), have submitted bids on behalf of their respective consortia to Qatar General Electricity and Water Corp. (Kahramaa) for the Middle Eastern country’s 700 MW solar tender.

Last October, Kahramaa pre-qualified 16 bidders for the 700 MW solar tender. However, just five parties — the two consortia, as well as Mitsubishi, Engie and PowerChina — have submitted bids thus far. The utility did not disclose the details of the bids.

Kahramaa has said that the two-stage, 700 MW project could potentially be expanded to 800 MW. The first 350 MW stage is scheduled for completion in 2021, while the second 350-450 MW stage will be completed in 2022. Kahramaa has assigned a plot of land for the project spanning 10 square kilometers in Al Kharsaah district, west of Doha.

Challenging schedule
Bidders have already started clarifying a range of technical, legal, and financial matters with Kahramaa. The utility hopes to sign related agreements and reach financial close on the project by early 2020.

The project will be the first solar plant of its size in Qatar. It will be built under a build-own-operate-transfer (BOOT) basis, with a 25-year power purchase agreement with Kahramaa. The winning developers will retain a 40% stake in the project company while Siraj Solar Energy, the local partner, will hold the remaining 60%.

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Kahramaa, the sole owner and operator of the country’s water and electricity transmission-distribution networks, is also qualified to sign PPAs with independent power producers.

Qatar, one of the world’s largest producers of liquefied natural gas, is developing ambitious plans to diversify into renewables. Average annual global horizontal irradiation stands at roughly 2100 kWh/m2, according to data from SolarGIS. However, the tiny country’s cumulative installed PV capacity stood at just 5 MW at the end of 2018, according to the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA).

By Amjad Khashman

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