ACWA Power Will Bid to Build Saudi Arabian Solar Energy Project

ACWA Power International will bid to build a solar energy project in Saudi Arabia, part of the kingdom’s $50 billion push to temper domestic oil use.

Riyadh-based ACWA received a request for proposals last week from Saudi Arabia’s energy ministry to develop the 300-megawatt solar project in Sakaka, Rajit Nanda, ACWA’s chief investment officer, said Tuesday in an interview in Dubai. It’s also considering bidding for other solar projects in Oman., Jordan and the United Arab Emirates, he said. Saudi Arabia kicked off its renewables push in January announcing plans for the solar plant and a 400-megawatt wind plant.

Saudi Arabia plans to develop almost 10 gigawatts of renewable energy by 2023, requiring investment of $30 billion to $50 billion, Energy Minister Khalid Al-Falih said in January. Middle Eastern countries also including the United Arab Emirates, Jordan and Morocco are developing wind and solar power plants to either curb their fuel imports or conserve more valuable oil that could be exported instead of used domestically.

Bids for the solar project are due Sept. 11, and an award may be announced as early as November to start the contract in January, Nanda said. ACWA hasn’t decided whether it will bid on its own or with partners, he said. Tenders for the wind project are expected to be issued next month, he said.

ACWA is seeking to build a 200-megawatt solar plant for the U.A.E.’s Dubai Electricity & Water Authority, using concentrated solar power, Nanda said. Bids are due in June, he said. ACWA is also considering bidding for other solar projects in Oman and Jordan, he said.

Oman is expected to tender for 200 megawatts of power in the third quarter, and Jordan may seek bids this year for 200 megawatts of solar photovoltaic generation including battery storage, according to Nanda. The Jordan project also includes 100 megawatts of wind power, he said.

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