Saudi Arabia launches renewable energy data center for investors

BE2C2 Report — In a move aimed at enabling ease of doing renewable energy investment and business in the Kingdom, the Saudi government has announced establishment of information hub called National Center for Renewable Energy Data.

The center will provide high-quality data on the renewable energy sector to investors, project developers and EPC firms.

The announcement comes weeks after Khalid Al-Falih, minister of energy, industry, and mineral resources said that it is the Kingdom’s goal to make the National Renewable Energy Program among the most attractive, competitive and well executed government renewable energy investment programs in the world, and “we have all the necessary infrastructure in place to ensure that is the case,” reported a local daily.

As a follow-up to the February announcement which included shortlisting of 51 companies for wind and power projects, the energy minister held a two-day investment seminar in capital Riyadh this week highlighting Kingdom’s plan to invest $50 billion in renewables in the next ten years.

The Saudi Arabia Renewable Energy Investment Forum (SAREIF) was attended by more more than 800 local and foreign delegates in which Mr. Falih launched a tender process for the Kingdom’s 300 megawatt Sakaka solar project. He said more wind and solar projects are in the pipeline.

The Sakaka project located in Al-Jouf in the northern region of Saudi Arabia is expected to come online by 2019.

The Project is being developed on a build, own and operate (“BOO”) basis — to be 100% owned by the successful Bidder. There will be no investment from any Government entity in the Project Company. The successful bidder will finance the greenfield project and its operation through raising of limited or non recourse debt facilities.

The project forms part of the Round 1 of the National Renewable Energy Program. The energy minister said last week 128 applications were received for prequalification, from which 27 firms have been shortlisted to bid on solar projects and 24 for wind energy.

The Kingdom has also announced a 400 MW greenfield wind power project in the northwest of Saudi Arabia on the eastern cost of Gulf of Aqaba.

The wind project — also on BOO basis, will be out for tender in the fourth quarter of this year, Falih said.

The projects are part of a plan to transform the Saudi economy by weaning it off oil and creating new industries, localization, and employment for Saudi nationals — all part of the Kingdom’s Vision 2030 program.

Under the new initiatives to obtain renewable energy from wind and solar projects, the minister said it would target 1,200 megawatts through 30 projects in the next seven years. The initiative plans to derive almost 10 gigawatts of power from renewable energy to the national grid by 2023.

“So the percentage of renewable energy by 2023 will be 10 percent of the total installed capacity in the Kingdom,” the minister said at the conference.

Al-Falih said the National Center for Renewable Energy Data of King Abdullah City for Atomic and Renewable Energy would serve as the central authority to provide high-quality data on the renewable energy sector in the Kingdom to investors and renewable energy firms.

The inaugural ceremony followed a panel discussion moderated by Eithne Treanor, OPEC’s official on air-conference and webcast moderator, reported Arab News.

Abdulaiz Al-Judaimi, senior vice president of Aramco, highlighted the importance of the company’s role in diversifying the Kingdom’s energy sources.

Saudi Aramco has already delivered on its renewable energy initiatives and demonstrated the integration of solar PV (photovoltaic), and solar CPV (concentrating photovoltaic) at its current facilities with several pilot projects, including one of the world’s largest solar carport systems.

Recently, Aramco installed its first wind tower 84m high with 60m long blades and a nacelle (turbine housing unit) weighing 83 tons.

The wind project located in Turaif in the northeast of the Kingdom, has a total weight of 410 tons and will generate power for a bulk plant facility operated by the oil giant.

BE2C2 is a business unit of Irshad Salim Associates  which produces reports, infographics, analytics and analyses based on data and information from sources readily available on the web and in the public domain.

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