It placed the lowest bid of $16.84 per megawatt-hour to secure the Al Henakiyah solar project from the Saudi Power Procurement Company (SPPC).
The consortium of Abu Dhabi-based Masdar, France’s EDF Renewables and Saudi conglomerate Nesma has entered a power purchase agreement with SPPC for a period of 25 years.
To be located in Al Madinah province, the solar facility will be one of the world’s largest single-site projects. It will generate enough clean electricity to meet the needs of 190,000 Saudi households annually, while helping avoid more than 1.8 million tonnes of CO₂ emissions.
The Al Henakiyah plant is being developed with an estimated investment of $1bn (SR3.75bn).
It will attain financial close early in 2024 and grid connection in 2025.
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The project will facilitate Saudi Arabia’s goal of growing the renewables share in its energy mix close to 50% by 2030. The government in Riyadh has recently signed a series of agreements with solar plant companies, including a deal with China’s Jinko Power Technology to build a 400MW solar power plant in Tabarjal in the northern part of the country.
The solar project backed by Masdar, EDF and Nesma is also expected to support the local economy, with plans to acquire at least 19% of the equipment, services and materials from Saudi companies during construction.
During the initial five-year operational phase, 50% of the solar plant’s workers will be Saudi nationals, with the aim of increasing this quota to 75% during the project’s complete operational life.
Masdar CEO Mohamed Jameel Al Ramahi stated: “Masdar is proud to have won the bid to develop the 1,100MW Al Henakiyah solar plant, further strengthening our partnership with Saudi Arabia. The kingdom is a key strategic market for Masdar, and we are committed to supporting the Ministry of Energy and the SPPC in achieving the targets set out under Vision 2030 and the Saudi Green Initiative, as the country accelerates its green transition toward net-zero emissions by 2060.”
EDF Renewables chairman and CEO and EDF Group renewable energies senior executive vice-president Bruno Bensasson stated: “The 1.1GW Henakiyah solar project is another significant milestone in the kingdom of Saudi Arabia for EDF Renewables and our partners Masdar and Nesma Renewable Energy, which would not have been possible without the full support provided by the Saudi Power Procurement Company and the Ministry of Energy.
“Together, we are geared to navigate the dynamic landscapes of clean energy, enabling a sustainable and prosperous future for Saudi Arabia while supporting the kingdom’s Vision 2030 to produce 50% of its electricity from renewable sources.
“After the 400MW Dumat al Jandal wind power farm currently under operation and the 300MW South Jeddah solar park, the journey ahead is promising, and we are wholeheartedly committed to creating lasting value, nurturing a legacy of positive change in the kingdom and for the generations to come.”