Bids due for Ain Beni Mathar solar thermal plant

22 November 2005
Technical bids are due by 30 November for the estimated Eur 200 million ($240 million) contract to develop the kingdom's first solar thermal power plant in the northeastern city of Ain Beni Mathar. The plant will have capacity of 200-250 MW, including a 30-MW solar element. The client is Office National de l'Electricite (ONE - MEED 29:4:05).

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.

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