Saudi Arabia launches bidding for four new solar projects

Saudi Arabia aims to produce 9.5 gigawatts of renewable energy under its Vision 2030 plan. (Shutterstock)
Short Url
Updated 10 January 2020

Saudi Arabia launches bidding for four new solar projects

  • The first batch of projects will target smaller firms

LONDON: Saudi Arabia has kicked off the bidding process for four major solar projects capable of generating 1,200MW as the Kingdom seeks to reduce its reliance on fossil fuels.

The Renewable Energy Project Development Office of Saudi Arabia’s Ministry of Energy said it had issued the requests for qualification (RFQ) for the third round of the Kingdom’s National Renewable Energy Program (NREP).

The first batch of projects will target smaller firms and will include the Layla 80 MW solar PV and the Wadi Al Dawaser 120 MW solar PV projects.

The second batch will include the larger Saad 300 MW solar PV and Ar Rass 700 MW solar PV projects. 

Renewable Energy Projects Development Office head Faisal Alyemni said the work will carry a minimum requirement of 17 percent local content as calculated by the Local Content and Government Procurement Authority.

Launched in 2017, REPDO tendered the first round of renewable energy projects which included Sakaka 300 MW solar PV project, now connected to the national electricity grid, and Dumat Al Jandal 400 MW wind project, which is currently under construction. 

The second round launched last July comprised of six solar PV projects amounting to 1,470 MW. 

Interested bidders have until Jan.20 and Feb. 3 to submit proposals for categories B and A respectively. 

Developing a thriving renewable energy industry is a central plank of the Saudi Vision 2030 economic and social blueprint with an initial target of generating 9.5 gigawatts of renewable energy. The plan also envisages the use of public private partnerships and the gradual liberalization of the fuels market.


Middle East airlines’ passenger traffic nosedive in April

Updated 06 June 2020

Middle East airlines’ passenger traffic nosedive in April

  • UAE-based Emirates and Etihad Airways will resume some transit flights
  • IATA said the global demand for air services is starting to show recovery

DUBAI: Passenger traffic for Middle East airlines plummeted 97.3 percent in April, versus a less-steeper dive of 50.3 percent a month earlier, the International Air Transport Association (IATA) said in a report.
“April was a disaster for aviation as air travel almost entirely stopped. But April may also represent the nadir of the crisis,” Alexandre de Juniac, IATA’s director general and CEO, said in a statement
“Flight numbers are increasing. Countries are beginning to lift mobility restrictions. And business confidence is showing improvement in key markets such as China, Germany, and the US.”
UAE-based Emirates and Etihad Airways will resume some transit flights after the country lifted a suspension on services where passengers stop off in the country to change planes, or for refueling.
Emirates, one of the world’s biggest long-haul airlines, would operate transit flights to 29 destinations in Asia, Europe and North America by June 15 while Etihad would carry transit passengers to 20 cities in Europe, Asia and Australia from June 10.
With aircraft of Middle East airlines grounded, and replicated globally due to the coronavirus pandemic, capacity tumbled 92.3 percent while the load factor decreased to 27.9 percent in April.
But IATA said the global demand for air services is starting to show recovery “after hitting bottom in April.”
There “are positive signs are we start to rebuild the industry from a stand-still. The initial green shoots will take time – possibly years – to mature,” de Juniac added.
Meanwhile, the Abu-Dhabi based carrier will extend salary cuts for employees until September even as other UAE airlines Emirates and Air Arabia confirmed job cuts due to the effects of the coronavirus pandemic.
“Etihad is continuing to consider all options to protect jobs and preserve cash at this challenging time. Regretfully, Etihad has extended its salary reduction until September 2020, with 25 percent reduction for junior staff and cabin crew, and 50 percent for employees at manager level and above. Housing allowance and a number of benefits continue to be paid,” a statement from Etihad said.