Picture: iSTOCK
Picture: iSTOCK

Dubai — Saudi Arabia received four bids for the first wind-power project tendered under a state programme to attract international companies, without disclosing information about the offers.

The bidders for the 400MW project are ACWA Power, the renewable energy units of European utilities Électricité de France and Enel, and Engie’s International Power, according to an e-mailed notice on Tuesday from the kingdom’s 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 energy ministry delayed a ceremony planned for Tuesday to open the bid envelopes, according to the notice, saying it will announce a new date for the ceremony and that the bids will remain sealed until then. The ministry did not say why it delayed the ceremony.

Saudi Arabia, the world’s biggest oil exporter, plans to develop 9.5GW 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 north-west, will be the first of its kind under the national programme.

In February, Saudi Arabia awarded its first international tender, with ACWA Power winning the contest to build a 300MW solar plant at Sakaka in the same region.

The north-west, which the government is seeking to develop, has some of the most favourable winds in the kingdom for producing power. State-owned Saudi Arabian Oil 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 signed a memorandum of understanding last month to develop 200GW of solar-power capacity in the desert kingdom by 2030. With a price tag of $200bn, the plan would add to the 65GW of generation capacity in the country at the end of 2014, according to government data.