State utility Saudi Electricity Company (SEC) has started the procurement process for the kingdom’s first major standalone renewables projects.

The electricity company has invited consultants to submit bids for the technical consultancy role on three major renewables projects. The initial deadline for consultancy proposals has been set on 31 January.

The technical consultancy will cover three renewables projects at different sites. Two 30-50 MW photovoltaic (PV) solar projects are planned at sites in Rafha and Al-Jouf, one at each site, and a 10-50MW wind project is planned at a site in Umiju. The projects will be procured using the independent power producer (IPP) model.

The consultancy role will include assisting with the prequalification of bidders, evaluation of bids and the award of contracts.

The initiation of the procurement phase for the renewables projects will be welcomed throughout the international renewable energy market, with the kingdom having failed to deliver on its ambitious 54GW renewables programme it launched in 2013.

Following the release of a white paper outlining the initial phases of projects in February 2013, the King Abdullah City for Atomic and Renewable Energy (KA-Care) was unable to make any further progress with its programme.

In 2015, SEC made progress with its first renewables projects when it awarded contracts for the Duba 1 and Waad al-Shamal integrated solar and combined cycle (ISCC) projects, which will each have solar components of about 50MW.