Four bidders have been prequalified for the contract: a consortium of Spain’s Cobraand Germany’s Siemens; Abengoa of Spain; a group of France’s Cegelec, Solargenix Energy of the US and Spain’s Soluziona Ingenieria; and Canada’s SNC Lavalin. An award will be made on the single parameter of price per kWh.

The 24-month engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) element of the contract calls for the installation of a gas turbine, a steam turbine, and a solar element consisting of an estimated 200,000 square metres of parabolic trough collectors. The exact configuration and capacity of the turbines has not yet been finalised. The contract also includes a five-year operations and maintenance (O&M) element, renewable in five-year periods up to a total of 20 years.

A deadline for the submission of financial offers has not been set, but they are expected by March 2006, with an award due towards the end of the second quarter. ‘The project is technically quite complicated, so it is likely to be a few months before commercial bids are submitted,’ says a source.

Based on the plant’s solar power element, funding is being provided by the African Development Bank, and through the World Bank from the Global Environment Facility. Germany’s Fichtner is the consultant on the project.