ACWA Power connects Sakaka PV IPP to national grid

Hisham Alrayes, CEO of GFH Financial Group.
Updated 01 December 2019

ACWA Power connects Sakaka PV IPP to national grid

ACWA Power has announced the successful connection of the Sakaka Solar PV Plant — the first renewable energy project in the Kingdom — to the national grid. The project has commenced initial production under a pilot phase according to schedule — with full commercial operation to be achieved before the end of the year 2019. 

The solar project has established a 100 percent local employment rate within the first year of operation, with 90 percent of the workforce comprising youths from Al-Jouf region. Additionally, Sakaka PV IPP registered more than 30 percent of contractual local content during the construction and development phases. The project has also recorded more than 3 million safe working hours without any injuries during development and construction. 

Mohammad Abunayyan, chairman of ACWA Power, said: “The successful energizing of Sakaka PV IPP is a remarkable testament of the work progress that has been ongoing at the project. We are confident to deliver the project on schedule and commercial operation of the plant before the end of this year at the highest levels of quality, safety, and security. 

“ACWA Power is proud to contribute to the sustainable development efforts of the Kingdom through the deployment of the Sakaka PV project, which accelerated the pace of renewable energy utilization and bolstered the fulfillment of energy demand in the Kingdom. In alignment with the goals of Vision 2030, Sakaka PV IPP has successfully contributed to the economic diversification, development of human capital and the elevation of national competencies to ensure a better future for upcoming generations.” 

Abunayyan commended the efforts of the partners of the project, noting in particular the support of the Ministry of Energy represented by the Renewable Energy Project Development Office (REPDO), from the initial inception of the project to date. He also expressed gratitude toward the Saudi Electricity Company (principal buyer) and Al-Gihaz Holding (project partner).

The SR1.2 billion ($320 million) Sakaka plant is the first utility scale renewable energy project in Saudi Arabia under the King Salman Renewable Energy Initiative.

Zain KSA celebrates key 5G milestone

Updated 14 December 2019

Zain KSA celebrates key 5G milestone

Zain KSA celebrated the finalization of the first phase of the Middle East’s largest 5G network in a special event on Dec. 8 at the Hilton Riyadh. The ceremony, held under the patronage of Minister of Communications and Information Technology Abdullah bin Amer Al-Sawaha, was attended by Zain KSA Chairman Prince Nayef bin Sultan bin Muhammed bin Saud Al-Kabeer, Governor of Communications and Information Technology Commission Dr. Muhammed bin Saud Al-Tamimi, Deputy Minister of Communications and Information Technology Haitham bin Abdulrahman Al-Ohali, and Zain KSA CEO Sultan bin Abdul Aziz Al-Deghaither, along with other dignitaries in the ICT sector.

Prince Nayef said: “Zain KSA’s achievement accompanies the speedy development and innovative services of the digital revolution that the world around us is witnessing. This achievement is significant in its timing, as it coincides with the rapid rise of the Kingdom’s ranking in several prestigious international reports, specifically in the ICT sector. Another aspect that makes this achievement noteworthy is its size, as it offers the broadest coverage of the 5G network, which has positioned the Kingdom as the first in the Middle East, Europe and Africa.”

Prince Nayef pointed out the concurrence of Zain KSA’s accomplishment with the Kingdom’s growing pivotal role at the global economic level, and in becoming the first Arab country to preside over the G20 summit. He affirmed Zain’s commitment to keeping pace with the Kingdom’s economic ambitions in line with its position in employing young national talent. He said the Saudization rate in the company has reached 86 percent, with young Saudis assuming 92 percent of leadership positions.

CEO Al-Deghaither said through its completion of the first phase of the 5G network, Zain KSA confirms its commitment to becoming a key player in the ICT sector. “Zain KSA has made several significant achievements since its inception. Today, we proudly announce that the company has the widest 5G network coverage in the Kingdom and the region.” 

He added that the 5G technology will lead the Kingdom toward a new world with its substantial technologies and capabilities, which will be evident in various sectors through the Internet of Things and the business sector, in addition to other daily functions that will make customer experience easier and more effective.”

Al-Deghaither said that this step comes at a time when Zain KSA is witnessing its best operational performance by reaching the highest profit over the past two years, with SR380 million ($101.3 million) during the first nine months of 2019, and a total of SR332 million for 2018.

With the completion of the first phase of the 5G network, Zain KSA is now offering a range of packages of 5G services for individuals and businesses through a network of 2,600 towers distributed across 27 cities.