Solar power: Final bids for plants within three months

Updated 24 February 2013

Solar power: Final bids for plants within three months

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia has published a roadmap for its renewable energy program, aimed at reducing the amount of oil it burns in power stations, and targets issuing final bids for the first plants within three months.
The Kingdom aims to install 23.9 gigawatts (GW) of renewable power capacity by 2020 and 54.1 GW by 2032, it said in the roadmap, which would make Saudi Arabia one of the world’s main producers of renewable electricity.
In 2011, global installed capacity for photovoltaic (PV) solar power, the most common solar technology, was 69.4 GW, the BP Statistical Review of World Energy 2012 said.
The Kingdom says it has crude output capacity of 12.5 million barrels a day, but domestic oil consumption is rising quickly and may start to cut into the amount of energy available for export.
The King Abdullah City for Atomic and Renewable Energy (KACARE), the government department responsible for the program, last year published its vision for a long-term energy mix that relied on big contributions from solar and nuclear energy.
KACARE said in its roadmap, a white paper published recently, that it aims to issue a request for prequalification for the first rewewable plants within two months, a final tender within three months and to award contracts within a year.
It said the initial contracts would be part of an “introductory” procurement round of 500-800 megawatts, but that it would launch two more tenders within three years for 7 GW of installed capacity. It said 5.1 GW would be installed in the first five years.
Saudi Arabia wants most of the new renewable energy capacity to come from two solar power technologies, but is also seeking to generate electricity from wind, geothermal and waste-to-energy projects.
KA-CARE specified that in the first two bidding rounds after the introductory procurement round, it wanted 2.4 GW of PV solar energy capacity and 2.1 GW of solar thermal capacity.
Renewable power developers will have 20-year contracts to sell electricity to a new government body that will in turn sell it on to the national grid.
New projects will have minimum requirements for local content and the employment of Saudi nationals, KACARE said, and developers must contribute to a Saudi research and development program for renewable energy.
The initial tendering process for the first projects this year aims to determine the cost of installing major renewable plants in Saudi Arabia to set a pricing structure for future bidding rounds, it said.
The Kingdom has also concluded nuclear energy cooperation agreements with the US, Russia, China, France, South Korea and Argentina. It has still to agree a non-proliferation deal with Washington, however, preventing it from accessing US nuclear technology.
KA-CARE said last year that Saudi Arabia should install around 41 gigawatts of solar power over the next 20 years, more than any country has managed so far, as well as around 17 GW of nuclear capacity.
KA-CARE said the 41 GW of solar capacity would meet a third of expected peak power demand in 2032, while nearly a sixth of installed capacity should come from nuclear and about half from oil and gas.
“I’m confident Saudi Arabia will approve a diversified energy mix this year,” Khalid Al-Sulaiman, vice president for renewable energy at KA-CARE, said after a presentation outlining its recommendation to the Saudi government.
KA-CARE said the Kingdom should aim to build 16 GW of solar photovoltaic (PV) capacity and about 25 GW of concentrated solar power (CSP) capacity by 2032.
CSP is more expensive than PV but allows for electricity storage, so its use would not be limited to sunny periods.
A spokesman for KA-CARE added that the Kingdom should install a further 4 GW of geothermal and waste-to-energy capacity by the same date.


Trump advisers urge delisting of US-listed Chinese companies that fail to meet audit standards

Updated 07 August 2020

Trump advisers urge delisting of US-listed Chinese companies that fail to meet audit standards

  • Growing pressure to crack down on Chinese companies that avail themselves of US capital markets but do not comply with rules
WASHINGTON: Trump administration officials have urged the president to delist Chinese companies that trade on US exchanges and fail to meet US auditing requirements by January 2022, Securities and Exchange Commission and Treasury officials said on Thursday.
The remarks came after President Donald Trump tasked a group of key advisers, including Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin and SEC Chairman Jay Clayton, with drafting a report with recommendations to protect US investors from Chinese companies whose audit documents have long been kept from US regulators.
It also comes amid growing pressure from Congress to crack down on Chinese companies that avail themselves of US capital markets but do not comply with US rules faced by American rivals.
“We are simply leveling the playing field, holding Chinese firms listed in the US to the same standards as everyone else,” a Treasury official told reporters in a briefing call about the report.
The US Senate unanimously passed legislation in May that could prevent some Chinese companies from listing their shares on US exchanges unless they follow standards for US audits and regulations.
Democratic Senator Chris Van Hollen, who sponsored the bill described the recommendations as “an important first step,” but said that “without the added teeth of our bill, this report alone does not implement the requirements necessary to protect everyday American investors.”
The administration’s recommendations, if implemented via an SEC rulemaking process, would give Chinese companies already listed in the United States until Jan. 1, 2022, to ensure the US auditing watchdog, known as the PCAOB, has access to their audit documents.
They can also provide a “co-audit,” for example, performed by a US parent company of the China-based affiliate tasked with auditing the Chinese firm. However, companies seeking to list in the United States for the first time will need to comply immediately, the officials said.
A State Department official told Reuters the administration plans soon to scrap a 2013 agreement between US and Chinese auditing authorities to set up a process for the PCAOB to seek documents in enforcement cases against Chinese auditors.
China said on Friday that the two countries have “good cooperation” in monitoring publicly listed firms.
“The current situation is that some US monitoring authorities are failing to comply with their obligations, and what they are doing is political manipulation — they are trying to force Chinese companies to delist from US markets,” foreign ministry spokesman Wang Wenbin told a media briefing.
The PCAOB has long complained of China’s failure to grant requests, giving it scant insight on audits of Chinese firms that trade on US exchanges.
The report also recommends requiring greater disclosure by issuers and registered funds of the risk of investing in China, as well as mandating more due diligence by funds that track indexes and issuing guidance to investment advisers about fiduciary obligations surrounding investments in China.
The moves come amid rising tensions between Washington and Beijing over China’s handling of the coronavirus and its moves to curb freedoms in Hong Kong, among other issues.