September 13, 2019 Read More →

Oil-rich Gulf nations getting serious about adding solar

PV Magazine:

The oil-rich nations that make up the Gulf Cooperation Council are racing to get more solar generation capacity into the development pipeline.

Having just commissioned the 1.18 GW Noor Abu Dhabi project – believed to be the largest single PV facility in the world – the Emirates Water and Electricity Company of Abu Dhabi is expecting to receive bids for its next, huge 1.5 GW solar park next month. The emirati utility is also considering including large-scale battery storage in the ambitious project.

Dubai, one of the leading renewables developers in the Gulf, is advancing plans for the fifth stage of the sprawling Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum Solar Park. The latest phase comprises 900 MW more solar and major global players including Jinko Power, Engie, ACWA Power, Marubeni and a consortium effort by Masdar and EDF are among the developers lining up to submit offers next month.

Within this fast-growing market, other Gulf nations are finally coming on board. Qatari utility Kahramaa has received offers for its 800 MW tender and the official contract award is expected by the end of the month. The Kuwait National Petroleum Company has received engineering, procurement and construction bids for an enormous new 1.25 GW project. The two facilities will be the first of their size in Qatar and Kuwait, possibly signaling the first shift of focus in the power sector away from fossil fuels.

Having dragged its heels in the past, even the world’s second largest oil producer appears to be starting to take renewables seriously. After reaching competitive prices on its Skaka project, the Renewable Energy Project Development Office of Saudi Arabia is tendering six new projects spread around the kingdom with a total generation capacity of 1.5 GW. Oman, meanwhile, is continuing bold plans to tender a further 1.1 GW in two developments.

Analysts are closely monitoring the results of that raft of tenders as the region has traditionally delivered world-record low prices for solar power. The new wave of tenders is expected to be no exception, given the size of the projects will boost economies of scale just as technological advancements including the use of bifacial modules enhance yields.

More: Does slew of solar mega tenders mean Gulf nations are belatedly accepting the inevitable?

Comments are closed.