Saudi Arabia Nears First Utility-Scale Wind Power Project

Saudi Arabia moved a step closer toward the construction of its first utility-scale wind-power project, according to reports.

The energy ministry “asked potential bidders and plant developers to submit their qualifications to build the 400-megawatt plant at Dumat Al Jandal in the kingdom’s northwestern Al Jouf region,” Bloomberg reports, citing an emailed statement. “Companies will be able to present their qualifications through Aug. 10 and will have through January to submit work proposals, according to the statement.

Submissions are to be made through the Kingdom’s Renewable Energy Project Development Office (REPDO), which is within the Saudi Ministry of Energy.

According to Reuters, the ministry had earlier said the Sakaka 300 MW solar PV plant and a 400 MW wind project in Midyan were part of the first round of projects. However, Dumat al-Jandal replaced Midyan as pre-development work is still being carried out there, according to Turki al-Shehri, head of the REPDO.

Al-Shehri said that Dumat al-Jandal “is basically the replacement of Midyan. Pre-developed work needs to be done on that side, hopefully it (Midyan) will come out soon.” He added that other companies can take part in the bidding since all the pre-qualified bidders for Midyan will be now automatically qualified for the replacing plant, according to Reuters.

The move is in line with the Kingdom’s Vision 2030 economic and social reform plan, which highlights the key role that renewable energy can play in the Saudi economy. “Even though we have an impressive natural potential for solar and wind power, and our local energy consumption will increase three fold by 2030, we still lack a competitive renewable energy sector at present. To build up the sector, we have set ourselves an initial target of generating 9.5 gigawatts of renewable energy” by 2030, according to the Vision 2030 plan announced last year.