Ashok Pathak | The TrickyScribe: Global law firm Eversheds Sutherland recently reported Saudi Arabia’s Renewable Energy Project Development Office (REPDO) has pre-qualified around 60 bidders for the 1.51 GW second round of the nation’s National Renewable Energy Program (NREP). An Eversheds representative pleading anonymity revealed that the information had come from one of its clients. REPDO sources are yet to confirm or contradict the report.
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The Eversheds briefing issued of late states a request for proposals related to the second round of the national program is likely to be issued the next month. First round of the NREP included the 300 MW Sakaka solar project secured in a tender by Saudi developer ACWA Power, which this week sold almost half the shares in its renewable energy project development business to the Chinese state-owned Silk Road Fund. With dozens of bidders reportedly pre-qualified for the second round of the program it would be a huge surprise if ACWA Power were not among them.
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As reported earlier in March that the second round of the program incorporates four larger projects. A 600 MW facility is scheduled to be built at Al Faisaliah and another 300 MW installation at Rabigh. With both of these sites near Jeddah, another 300 MW installation is planned in Jeddah itself and a fourth large scheme, in Al Jawf province near Qurayyat, will have a generation capacity of 200 MW.
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The Eversheds briefing described those projects as Category B, meaning they would be financed by borrowings. Three smaller, Category A schemes are also planned, to be financed by corporate finance as well as borrowing, according to Eversheds. Those projects will be a 50 MW installation at Medinah, a 45 MW facility at Rafha, in the Northern Borders province, and a 20 MW scheme at Mahad Duhab.
The Zawya Middle Eastern portal of news service Reuters in March reported a call for expressions of interest in the second round of the NREP had prompted 256 responses, with more than 100 of them from Saudi companies. Reuters stated the second round projects are expected to attract investment of around $1.5 billion.
It may be mentioned here that more than 100 domestic developers were interested in the seven-project, 1.515 GW generation capacity second round of the kingdom’s National Renewable Energy Program. That number has been reduced to dozens, according to a briefing note, and a request for proposals is expected within weeks.