The Saudi Electricity Company (SEC) has awarded technical and legal consultancy contracts for Saudi Arabia’s next independent power project (IPP).

SEC has appointed Germany’s Fichtner as technical consultant, and has awarded a contract to the local law office of Mohanned al-Rasheed to provide legal consultancy services for the the proposed 600MW Dhuba 1 IPP. The IPP is planned to be an integrated solar, combined-cycle (ISCC) plant, which will run on a mix of natural gas and solar energy.

The project will have an estimated cost of $600m and SEC is planning for a private sector investment of 50 per cent in the scheme. The planned commissioning date of the plant is 2017.

Following the first phase of the Dhuba power plant, SEC is planning a Dhuba 2 IPP, which will use steam turbines that run on conventional heavy fuel oil. The Dhuba 2 IPP will have a larger capacity of 1,800MW and an estimated budget of $2.7bn. The planned commissioning date for the Dhuba 2 IPP is 2018.

On 30 November, SEC awarded the contract to the local firm Acwa Power to develop the $1.6bn Rabigh 2 IPP.

The Acwa Power consortium had been selected as the preferred bidder for the 2,060MW IPP in January, and signed the PPA with SEC on 30 November. The PPA has created the Al-Mourjan for Electricity Production Company to operate the Rabigh 2 plant, with SEC and the winning consortium holding a share of 50 per cent each.

As part of the Acwa consortium, South Korea’s Samsung C&T has been awarded the engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) contract to build the power plant. The combined-cycle, gas-fired plant will be located in Rabigh on the western coast of Saudi Arabia, 150 kilometres north of Jeddah.

SEC’s IPP programme is part of the kingdom’s efforts to boost generating capacity in the coming years to cope with the expected rise in demand. In its 2012 annual report, SEC forecasts that peak demand will grow from the 51,900MW recorded in 2012 to 85,000MW in 2020 and 120,000MW by 2030.