State utility Saudi Electricity Company (SEC) is preparing to make a contract award for the consultancy role on the kingdom’s first major standalone renewables projects.

The firm received prices for the technical consultancy role for three major renewables schemes on 15 February. According to sources close to the schemes, SEC is planning to award the deal by 15 May.

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

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

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

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

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

The kingdom’s renewable energy plans were given fresh impetus in the Vision 2030, which was launched in April. As part of the development programme, Riyadh has set an initial target of installing 9.5GW of renewable energy. Details of the programme will be provided in the planned upcoming King Salman Renewable Energy Initiative.