Saudis Get Four Bids for 400-Megawatt Wind-Power Project

(Bloomberg) -- Saudi Arabia received four bids for the first wind-power project tendered under a government program to attract international companies, without disclosing information about the offers.

The bidders for the 400-megawatt project are ACWA Power, the renewable energy units of European utilities Electricite de France and Enel SpA, and Engie SA’s International Power, according to an emailed notice Tuesday from the Energy Ministry’s Renewable Energy Project Development Office. Saudi Arabia plans to roughly triple its capacity to generate electricity from renewable energy as part of a plan to ease dependence on finite fossil fuels.

The kingdom’s Energy Ministry delayed a ceremony planned for Tuesday to open the bid envelopes, according to the notice. The ministry said it will announce a new date for the ceremony and that bids will remain sealed until then. The ministry didn’t say why it delayed the ceremony.

Saudi Arabia, the world’s biggest oil exporter, plans to develop 9.5 gigawatts of renewable energy by 2023 in an initial push to reduce its reliance on crude and natural gas. The wind plant, to be located at Dumat Al Jandal city in Saudi Arabia’s northwest, will be the first of its kind under the national program. In February, Saudi Arabia awarded its first international tender, with ACWA Power winning the contest to build a 300-megawatt solar plant at Sakaka in the same region.

The northwest, which the government is seeking to develop, has some of the most favorable winds in the kingdom for producing power. State-owned Saudi Arabian Oil Co. started a wind turbine at one of its industrial sites in the region in January 2017, the nation’s first such facility.

Saudi Arabia and Japan’s SoftBank Group Corp. signed a memorandum of understanding last month to develop 200 gigawatts of solar power capacity in the desert kingdom by 2030. With a price tag of $200 billion, the plan would add to the 65 gigawatts of generation capacity in the country at the end of 2014, according to government data.

©2018 Bloomberg L.P.