Reuters and other foreign news agencies reported that the government of Saudi Arabia has just entered PPAs with seven new solar projects and inaugurated the Sakaka PV Power Plant. Local news outlets also reported that the construction of the Dumat al-Jandal wind farm, which is the first utility-scale wind project in Saudi Arabia, is halfway to completion. The seven new projects, together with the Sakaka PV Power Plant and Dumat al-Jandal wind farm, are expected to provide more than 3.6GW of generation capacity. This amount is enough to power more than 600,000 households in the country.
The seven new projects are under the ownership of independent power producers. The Saudi Power Procurement Company, which manages generation assets in the country, will be buying electricity from them via contracts that last 20-25 years.
Located in Al-Jouf Province and possessing a generation capacity of 300MW, the Sakaka PV Power Plant is an independent power plant and the first project to be developed under the National Renewable Energy Program of the Saudi government. The contract for the construction of the power plant was awarded to ACWA Power, which is co-owned by Saudi Arabia’s sovereign wealth fund. The EPC work was done by a consortium that included Mahindra Susten Private Limited and CHINT Solar. The latter is a major PV product manufacturer based in China. The plant officially entered operation on April 8.
Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman told state news agency SPA that renewable energy projects across the country will be key components in the strategy to “optimize” the domestic energy mix. Moreover, the Saudi government has recently launched “the Saudi Arabia Green Initiative” and “the Middle East Green Initiative” that will provide solutions to environmental issues such as land degradation and CO2 emissions. Speaking on these plans, the Crown Prince said that even though his country is a major oil exporter, it will do its part in addressing the “climate crisis” and assume a leadership role in transitioning to the “next green era”.
Earlier this year, the Saudi government announced that it aims to source 50% of its electricity from renewable energies and natural gas by 2030. The Crown Prince said that reaching the target will offset the consumption of around one million barrels of oil equivalent of liquid fuel per day.