Saudi Arabia is preparing to launch 700MW of clean energy projects under the first round of its planned renewable energy programme.

Speaking to MEED on the sidelines of the World Future Energy Summit in Abu Dhabi on 16 January, Fahad Abu-Mouti, chief renewable energy executive officer of King Abdullah City for Atomic & Renewable Energy (KA-Care) said the initial 3.45GW target for 2020 would be split into three rounds.

The majority of the 3.45GW of projects will form part of the King Salman Renewable Energy Initiative, a programme that will be launched before the end of the first quarter of 2017.

The first 700MW round will consist of 300MW photovoltaic (PV) solar projects and 400MW wind schemes, which will be developed under the independent power project (IPP) model in partnership with private developers.

The second and third rounds, which will take the initial projects up to 3.45GW by 2020, will also contain concentrated solar power (CSP) and waste-to-energy schemes.

Speaking at the conference, Abu-Mouti revealed that KA-Care, launched in 2010, will form the renewable energy monitoring agency (Remo) and monitor the projects under the King Salman Energy Initiative programme and future renewable energy projects.

“[Ka-Care] will monitor the robustness of the national renewable programme.”

Abu-Mouti said the kingdom was committed to delivering 9.5GW of renewable energy projects. Later rounds of projects may include other forms of renewable energy such as geothermal, he said. The renewable projects will all be developed under the IPP model.

The Ministry of Energy & Industry, formed in 2016, is driving the push for renewables, and state utility Saudi Electricity Company (SEC) will be the offtaker for the clean energy schemes.

“A multi-stakeholder team will execute the renewable programme, but all of the projects will fall under the national plan,” added Abu-Mouti.

Clarification of the role of KA-Care and news of the upcoming projects will please the regional and international power and renewable energy sectors, which were left disappointed with the kingdom’s original 54GW renewable energy programme, launched in 2012. Following the publication of a draft white paper in early 2013 detailing plans for the initial renewable energy projects, no further progress with the programme was made.