EXCLUSIVE: Riyadh still evaluating solar proposals

05 December 2017
Riyadh received proposals from eight developers in October for 300MW Sakaka solar project

Saudi Arabia’s Renewable Energy Project Development Office (Repdo) is still evaluating proposals for the first solar project under the kingdom’s National Renewable Energy Programme (NREP).

Repdo, the body established by the Ministry of Energy, Industry & Mineral Resources to oversee the NREP, received proposals from eight bidders on 2 October for the contract to develop the 300MW Sakaka photovoltaic (PV) solar plant.

Repdo had been planning to have shortlisted bidders by 28 November, but according to sources close to the programme, the proposals are still under evaluation. According to sources, the advisors have submitted a report to Repdo which has now been passed to the Minister of Energy Khalid al-Falih for assessment before a final decision is made.

A consortium led by the UAE’s Masdar submitted the lowest bid of 1.7859$cents a kilowatt hour ($c/KWh). The low bid was 24 per cent lower than the 2.3417$c/KWh price submitted by the second lowest bidder, the local Acwa Power. Japan’s Marubeni submitted the third lowest bid of 2.6603$c/KWh.

Repdo is planning to appoint shortlisted bidders by 13 November and sign the power purchase agreement (PPA) by 15 January 2018. A final target date for financial close has been set for 28 February 2018, with the client aiming for the project to have been commissioned by 31 August 2019.

Repdo prequalified 27 companies to participate in the bidding process for the 300MW solar project. A special purpose vehicle, project company, will be formed to develop the project and will be 100 per cent owned by the successful bidder.

Under the 700MW first round of the NREP, a 300MW PV solar project will be developed at a site in Sakaka in the Al-Jouf province and a 400MW wind project will be developed at a site in Dumat al-Jandal.

MEED reported in January that the ministry was going to push ahead with the initial 700MW of the first 3.45GW of renewable energy projects planned by 2020 in the first quarter of 2017. The NREP sets out a target for 3.45GW of renewable energy to be developed by 2020 under the National Transformation Plan (NTP), and for 9.5GW of renewable energy capacity to be established by 2023.

Repdo will report to a new renewable energy steering committee, chaired by the Minister of Energy, Industry & Mineral Resources Khalid al-Falih. The committee will include the heads of various government stakeholders in the kingdom including: King Abdullah City for Atomic & Renewable Energy (KA-Care), the Electricity & Cogeneration Regulatory Authority (ECRA), state oil major Saudi Aramco and state utility Saudi Electricity Company.

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