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)
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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.


Big oil feels the heat on climate as industry leader promises: ‘We will be different’

Updated 22 January 2020

Big oil feels the heat on climate as industry leader promises: ‘We will be different’

  • Trump singles out ‘prophets of doom’ for attack
  • Greenpeace told the Davos gathering that the world’s largest banks, funds and insurance companies had invested $1.4 trillion in fossil fuel companies since the Paris climate deal

LONDON: Teenage environmental activist Greta Thunberg slammed inaction over climate change as the global oil industry found itself under intense scrutiny on the opening day of the World Economic Forum in Davos.

The teenage campaigner went head to head with US President Donald Trump, who dismissed climate “prophets of doom” in his speech.
She in turn shrugged off the US president’s pledge to join the economic forum’s initiative to plant 1 trillion trees to help capture carbon dioxide.
“Planting trees is good, of course, but it’s nowhere near enough,” Thunberg said. “It cannot replace mitigation. We need to start listening to the science and treat this crisis with the importance it deserves,” the 17-year-old said.
The 50th meeting of the World Economic Forum was dominated by the global threat posed by climate change and the carbon economy.
The environmental focus of Davos 2020 caps a year when carbon emissions from fossil fuels hit a record high, and the devastating effects of bushfires in Australia and other climate disasters dominated the news.
Oil company executives from the Gulf and elsewhere are in the spotlight at this year’s Davos meeting as they come under increased pressure to demonstrate how they are reducing their carbon footprint.
“We are not only fighting for our industry’s life but fighting for people to understand the things that we are doing,” said Vicki Hollub, CEO of Occidental, the US-based oil giant with extensive oil operations in the Gulf. “As an industry when we could be different — we will be different.”

‘Planting trees is good, but nowhere near enough,’ activist Greta Thunberg told Davos. (Shutterstock)

She said the company was getting close to being able to sequester significant volumes of CO2 in the US Permian Basin, the heartland of the American shale oil industry which is increasingly in competition with the conventional oil producers of the Arabian Gulf.
“The Permian Basin has the capacity to store 150 gigatons of CO2. That would be 28 years of emissions in the US. That’s the prize for us and that’s the opportunity. People say if you’re sequestering in an oil reservoir then you are producing more oil, but the reality is that it takes more CO2 to inject into a reservoir than the barrel of oil that it makes come out,” Hollub said.
The challenge Occidental and other oil companies face is to make investors understand what is happening in this area of carbon sequesteration, she added.
The investment community at Davos is also looking hard at the oil industry in the face of mounting investor concerns.
Greenpeace told the Davos gathering that the world’s largest banks, funds and insurance companies had invested $1.4 trillion in fossil fuel companies since the Paris climate deal. It accused some of these groups of failing to live up to the World Economic Forum goal of “improving the state of the world.”