Confusion surrounds Kuwait’s mega solar plans


Amid local media reports the Kuwaiti authorities intend to merge the much-delayed, gigawatt scale Dabdaba solar project into another grand renewables development, no details have been given about whether the scale of either facility will be affected.

A report run by the Reuters-linked Zawya Middle East news portal controlled by New York-based private equity group Blackstone – and reproduced by Dubai-based clean energy news site Globally Today – stated the Dabdaba project would be merged into the 2 GW Shagaya renewables field.

Zawya referred to a report carried by Kuwaiti daily newspaper Alanba which yesterday quoted sources at Kuwait Petroleum Corporation (KPC) who said the KPC, which had originally tendered the Dabdaba project, had cancelled the procurement and asked the Kuwait Authority for Partnership Projects (KAPP) to merge the solar field – variously reported as 1 GW and 1.5 GW in scale – with the 2 GW Shagaya clean energy site, 100km west of Kuwait City at Al Shagaya.

With KAPP promoting private sector involvement in Kuwaiti infrastructure, Alanba reportedly stated the merger would “serve government plans to expand public-private partnership.”

pv magazine has contacted Kuwait Petroleum Corporation to attempt to verify the report but is still awaiting a reply to a similar request made in July. Six months ago, Zawya – referencing Kuwaiti daily Al Rai – reported the bank guarantees lodged by the four shortlisted bidders to provide engineering, procurement and construction plus operations and maintenance services to the Dabdaba project were due to expire in mid July. The tender for Dabdaba – also described as Dibdibah, in a previous report – was reportedly supposed to have taken place by March 2018.

Yesterday's news report stated the project would be rolled into phase III of the 84km2 Shagaya renewables park. pv magazine reported in June 2013 that a 70 MW first phase of the “government-funded” 2 GW Shagaya development would feature PV, solar thermal and wind power generation and be operational by 2016.

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