Saudi Arabia has announced the shortlisted bidders of the second round of its National Renewable Energy Program (NREP) tender, which includes four solar plants totaling 1.4 GW, in addition to another procurement round for two PV facilities equaling 70 MW.
Prospective developers submitted four bids for the first of the two tenders, which was launched in July, the Renewable Energy Project Development Office (REPDO) said. The successful bidders will be awarded 25-year power purchase agreements.
The two lowest bidders for the largest of the plants, the 600 MW Al-Faisaliah PV IP project, were extremely close, REPDO said, noting that the difference in the levelized cost of energy was within the statistical margin of error. As a result, the Saudi Ministry of Energy decided to proceed with a with a Best and Final Offer (BAFO). The two selected consortia – led by Saudi energy company ACWA Power and UAE-based solar developer Masdar, respectively – will not have to submit a final offer.
The BAFO is a procurement strategy that is often utilized when the evaluation experts determine that the price could or should be better, or when some elements of an offer are confusing and need to be more clearly defined.
“The results of the bids in respect of Al-Faisaliah PV IPP will be announced in April 2020 after completion of the BAFO,” REPDO said.
REPDO has shortlisted two consortia for the 300 MW Jeddah PV IPP project. The first group, which includes Masdar and French utility EDF, offered an LCOE of SAR0.0609042/kWh. The other group, led by ACWA Power, submitted a bid of SAR0.06215/kWh.
For the 300 MW Rabigh PV IPP project, the shortlisted bidders were Japanese trading giant Marubeni, which offered SAR0.06381138/kWh, and a consortium led by ACWA Power, which proposed an LCOE of SAR0.06597/kWh.
For the 200 MW Qurrayat PV IPP project, the lowest bid was submitted by ACWA Power at SAR0.06688/kWh. The second shortlisted bidder, French oil producer Total, offered SAR0.0678555/kWh.
REPDO also revealed that the shortlisted bidders for two more solar projects, totaling 70 MW.
Madinah and Rahfa
For the 50 MW Madinah PV IPP project, the Saudi authorities shortlisted two consortia led by Al Blagha Holding and U.S. module manufacturer First Solar, respectively. The first group offered an LCOE of SAR0.0727533/kWh, while the second offered SAR0.011.35/kWh
For the 20 MW RafhaPV IPP project, REPDO shortlisted the same consortia. l Blagha Holding offered SAR0.0130772/kWh, while First Solar bid SAR0.01904/kWh.
The second round of the program initially drew 250 bidders. In July, REPDO said the number of bidders it had narrowed the bidders down to 60 companies, including 28 that were based in Saudi Arabia.
In the first round of the procurement program, REPDO assigned 300 MW of solar capacity to a single facility, the Sakaka solar project which is now operational. That first tender drew global attention by attracting the lowest solar electricity price ever bid, with French energy giant EDF offering to generate solar power for an LCOE of SAR0.06697/kWh. The bid was rejected, however, with Saudi energy giant ACWA Power ultimately winning with an offer of SAR0.08872/kWh.
The third round of the program – intended for allocating another 1.2 GW of PV – was launched in January.