Bids due for first solar plant

05 May 2006

Interested companies have until 10 May to submit commercial bids for the estimated $250 million contract to develop the kingdom's first solar hybrid power plant at Ain Beni Mathar. The plant will have capacity of 230-250 MW, including a 30-MW solar element. The contract will be awarded on a single-parameter basis of price per kilowatt hour.

Three groups are expected to participate in the tender: Canada's SNC Lavalin with the US' General Electric; a consortium of Spain's Abengoa and France's Alstom; and a consortium of Spain's Cobra and Siemens of Germany.

The contract has a 24-month engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) element and a five-year operations and maintenance phase, renewable in five-year periods up to a total of 20 years. An increase in proposed capacity to 400 MW is under consideration.

Financing for the solar power element will come from the World Bank's Global Environment Facility, with further funding from the African Development Bank. The client is Office National de l'Electricite. Germany's Fichtner is the consultant.

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