The world can expect more record-breaking bids for solar and wind energy projects this year as Saudi Arabia plans to hold at least two rounds of auction for solar and wind energy projects under its National Renewable Energy Program (NREP).
Saudi Arabia’s Renewable Energy Project Development Office (REPDO) recently announced plans to auction off 3.25 gigawatts of solar power and 800 megawatts of wind energy capacity this year.
The allocation of projects will be spread over two auction rounds. The first auction, planned in the first quarter, will feature 250 megawatts of solar power capacity. The second auction will see 3 gigawatts of solar power and 800 megawatts of wind energy capacity allocated.
Saudi Arabia issued tenders for 400 megawatts of wind energy and 300 megawatts of solar power capacity last year and attracted highly competitive bids. 25 companies qualified for the wind energy project planned in the Al Jouf region. Masdar, EDF, Acciona, GE, Enel, ENGIE, Marubeni, Siemens, ACWA Power, Vestas, and Goldwind are some of the heavyweights that submitted bids in the wind energy tender.
REPDO shortlisted bids from 27 companies for the solar power project in April last year. Subsequently, it trimmed the list to just 8 companies by October. This list included the Masdar Group, which quoted the world’s lowest-ever solar power tariff of ¢1.78/kWh. However, only two companies made it to the final round of selection — ACWA Power and Marubeni Corporation, along with their partner companies in project development.
The solar and wind energy projects offered last year, and the projects to be auction in this year’s auctions, are expected to be commissioned by 2020 as Saudi Arabia has set a target to have 3.45 gigawatts of renewable energy by that time. The country also has a 2030 target to have 9.5 gigawatts renewable energy capacity.