Dubai Electricity and Water Authority (Dewa) has selected Austria’s ILF Consulting Engineers to advise on the development of its 1,000MW multi-technology solar power park.

ILF Consulting Engineers submitted the fourth lowest bid at AED6.46m. Six companies responded to the request for proposals, which was issued on 10 November.

  • Al-Ruyah International Consulting (UAE) – AED1.96m ($534,000)
  • Tractebel (Brussels) – AED3.91m
  • Kema (Netherlands) – AED6.16m
  • ILF Consulting Engineers (Austria) – AED6.46m
  • Fichtner (Germany) – AED8.38m
  • Lahmeyer (Germany) – AED9.99m

According to a source at Dewa, the bids were evaluated against criteria which placed “more weight on the technical than the financial” aspects of the bids.

ILF Consulting Engineers will act as consultants for the overall development of the recently announced Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum Solar Park and the construction of a 10MW photovoltaic (PV) solar power plant.

The tender was originally launched as a consultancy contract for only the 10MW project. However, once the bidders were prequalified, Dewa added to the scope to include the new solar park before inviting bids.

Dewa unveiled plans for the emirate’s first large-scale power project in 2010. It selected Germany’s Lahmeyer to perform site investigations for a 10-100MW solar power pilot. These studies are now complete.

The first facility to be developed at the site will be a 10MW photovoltaic solar project. At a cost of about AED120m ($33m), the project will be financed on balance sheet by six government bodies headed by the Supreme Council of Energy.

A tender for engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) contractors will be launched. The chief executive and secretary-general of the Supreme Energy Council, Nejib Zaafrani, has said that an award is expected to be made by June with work commencing shortly afterwards and first power produced by the fourth quarter of 2013. The power plant will be connected to Dewa’s grid.

The megaproject will cover 48 square kilometres at Seih al-Dahal, located south east of Dubai city. A collection of facilities using photovoltaic, concentrated solar power (CSP) trough and solar power tower technology will feature at the site.

According to Dewa, the solar park will require a total investment of about AED12.6bn ($3.5bn). While the first phase will be government-procured, subsequent projects could be financed by the private sector. This could take the form of independent power projects (IPPs) in a similar structure already employed for traditional power plants.

Dewa has also said that it intends to establish a clean energy fund, which will be a vehicle for private sector finance for new renewable energy projects, including projects in the Mohammed bin Rashid al-Maktoum solar park.

Dewa has hinted that the emirate may introduce a tariff mechanism to promote renewable energy in the future. “We are considering feed-in tariffs [for renewable energy],” said Zaafrani.

Dubai currently has around 4.5MW of installed solar power capacity. The largest project is at Meydan and has a capacity of 750kW. Other projects are at Jebel Ali and the Palm Jumeirah.