RIYADH: Saudi Arabia, the world’s biggest oil exporter, is expected to lead renewable energy developments this year with up to $7 billion worth of new tenders, according to an official from the International Renewable Energy Agency.
“Saudi Arabia has huge potential because it has a big market and has very ambitious renewable energy targets,” said Rabia Ferroukhi, head of policy unit at the Abu Dhabi-based agency “The regulatory environment is well established now to conduct auctions and attract investors.”Saudi Arabia is expected to tender over 4 Gigawatts of renewable projects this year, which could be worth anywhere between $5bn to $7bn, she added, report Agencies.
Saudi Arabia, which largely burns oil to generate power, has set ambitious targets to add 9.5GW of renewables by 2023, as it looks to sell more of its crude to export markets. The Saudi energy ministry’s renewables office is expected to tender 3.25GW of solar and 800 Megawatts of wind capacity this year alone.
Saudi Arabia is set to break ground on its first ever solar plant later this year, a $302 million, 300MW solar photovoltaic facility that will be developed by Riyadh-based Acwa Power on the basis of an independent power producer model.
Saudi Arabia’s inaugural 400MW wind project received four bids in April with the kingdom likely to award the scheme later this month.
But Saudi Arabia’s biggest project is a $200bn, 200GW solar development, set to be the world’s largest. Japan’s Softbank and Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund are leading the development, which will be completed by 2030, create 100,000 jobs and reduce the cost of generating electricity.
“The talks between PIF and Softbank become quite important because it shows there is a clear interest from one of the largest investment funds in the world to be involved in renewables in Saudi Arabia,” said Ms Ferroukhi. “But other institutions will be needed, foreign banks, to be involved in the project.”