Report
Energy Ministry Launches Comprehensive Survey for Solar and Wind Projects in Preparation for 20 GW Annual Tender
2024-07-03 10:08

Saudi Arabia is launching an extensive geographic survey to locate optimal sites for new renewable energy projects. The survey will cover over 850,000 square kilometers, excluding populated areas, sand dunes, and regions with airspace restrictions. This initiative aims to streamline the financing process for renewable energy projects and reduce the waiting time for obtaining necessary data. In addition, Saudi Arabia has signed Power Purchase Agreements (PPAs) for a combined 5.5 GW of solar PV capacity with a consortium led by ACWA Power.

The Saudi Arabian Ministry of Energy has initiated an extensive geographic survey to identify potential renewable energy sites, making it the first country to conduct such a large-scale survey. The survey will cover over 850,000 square kilometers, excluding populated areas, sand dunes, and regions with airspace restrictions.

Energy Minister Prince AbdulAziz bin Salman bin AbdulAziz Al Saud highlighted that the survey area is comparable in size to the combined land areas of the UK and France, or Germany and Spain. This comprehensive data collection will eliminate the current 18 to 24-month waiting period for obtaining necessary information, making renewable energy projects more financeable. It will also expedite project announcements and execution, while reducing implementation risks associated with renewable energy initiatives.

Energy Minister Prince AbdulAziz bin Salman bin AbdulAziz Al Saud announced that this survey aligns with Saudi Arabia’s plan to tender 20 GW of new renewable energy projects annually starting in 2024. The kingdom aims to reach a cumulative capacity of 100 GW to 130 GW by 2030. This initiative will significantly contribute to achieving an optimal energy mix for electricity production, with renewable sources comprising about 50% of the energy mix by 2030. Additionally, it supports the goals of the Liquid Fuel Displacement Program by reducing reliance on liquid fuels for electricity generation.

As part of the survey, 1,200 stations equipped with the latest technologies will be established across Saudi Arabia to measure solar and wind energy. These stations will survey designated areas to identify suitable sites for renewable energy projects. Once these sites are identified, the stations will be relocated and installed there to continuously provide accurate data necessary for the implementation of renewable energy projects.

For solar energy, these stations will record a variety of parameters, including Direct Normal Irradiance (DNI), Global Horizontal Irradiance (GHI), Diffuse Horizontal Irradiance (DHI), dust and pollutant deposition rates, ground-reflected radiation (albedo), ambient temperature, rainfall levels, relative humidity, and atmospheric pressure.

PPAs Signed for 5.5 GW Solar Capacity

The Ministry of Energy has announced the signing of power purchase agreements (PPAs) for a total of 5.5 GW of solar PV capacity between a consortium led by ACWA Power and the Saudi Power Procurement Company (SPPC). The agreements pertain to the following projects:

- The 2 GW Haden Solar PV Project in Makkah Province, with a levelized cost of electricity (LCOE) of 5.8762 cents/kWh (5.95356 Halala/kWh)

- The 2 GW Al-Muwaih Solar PV Project, also in Makkah Province, with an LCOE of 6.03194 cents/kWh (1.60852 Halala/kWh)

- The 1.5 GW Al-Khushaybi PV Project in Qassim Province, with an LCOE of 6.27334 cents/kWh (1.67289 Halala/kWh)

The consortium, in addition to ACWA Power, includes the Water & Electricity Holding Company (Badeel), a wholly owned subsidiary of the Public Investment Fund (PIF), and Aramco Power, a subsidiary of Saudi Aramco.

These projects will be developed under the National Renewable Energy Program (NREP). To date, the ministry has awarded 21 projects with a combined capacity of 19 GW. Of these, 7 projects totaling 4.1 GW are now connected to the grid, 8 projects with 8.2 GW capacity are under construction, and the remaining 6 projects, with a combined capacity of 7 GW, are in the financial close stage. Additionally, the ministry has tendered 6 new renewable energy projects for 2024, representing an additional 6.7 GW.

 
Tags:Asia green energy , solar PV
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