Abu Dhabi’s Masdar has appointed the consortium of Total and Abengoa Solar as a partner to own, build and operate the 100 MW Shams 1, the world’s largest concentrated solar power plant and the first of its kind in the Middle East.

One of Masar’s flagship projects, Shams 1 will directly contribute towards Abu Dhabi’s target of achieving 7 per cent renewable energy power generation capacity by the year 2020.

The joint venture between Masdar (60 per cent), Total (20 per cent) and Abengoa Solar (20 per cent) will develop, build, operate and maintain the plant, which will be located in Madinat Zayed, approximately 120 km southwest of Abu Dhabi, UAE.

Construction on the concntrating solar power plant is set to begin during Q3 2010, and is expected to take approximately two years.


SEC’s $2.1bn gas power plant


Saudi Electricity Company (SEC) signed a contract with a consortium to build a SR7.9bn ($2.1bn) gas fired power plant to be located 125 km west of Riyadh and has committed to buying the electricity produced for 20 years.

The consortium consists of GDF Suez of France, Japan’s Sojitz Corporation and the local Al-Jomaih Holding Group. The project is a joint venture between SEC and the consortium and will result in a 1730 MW plant, dubbed ‘Riyadh 11’ which will start operations in May 2012.

GE Energy will supply the equipment for the plant and Hyundai Heavy Industries will be the main EPC contractor.

The project will meet 15 per cent of Riyadh’s power demand and will be financed by a consortium of local and international banks, including Banque Saudi Fransi, Samba Financial Group and Alinma Bank.


UAE grid expansion contracts award


Siemens Energy has received a €150m ($186m) order from the Abu Dhabi Transmission & Dispatch Company (Transco), as part of an ambitious project to expand the country’s power distribution network.

Siemens and its partner Electromechanical LLC will supply five turnkey transformer substations including switchgear for the project. The substations are scheduled for completion by 2013.

Meanwhile, Areva T&D has won an order worth around €90m ($115m) in the UAE for a 400/132 kV GIS substation, which will strengthen power supply for the fast-growing Northern Emirates region.

The substation, due to be completed by 2010, will be located in Ajman, where the population is expected to jump from 250 000 in 2010 to 2.2m in 2030, according to estimates from the UAE Ministry of Economy.


Areva and Mitsubishi reactors to be sold in Jordan


Japan and Jordan, which is planning its first atomic power plants, have agreed to sign a treaty allowing Areva SA and Mitsubishi Heavy Industries Limited to sell reactors in the country.

Jordan is currently considering Atomic Energy of Canada Limited’s Candu 6 reactor, the AES-92 VVER-1,000 model developed by Russia’s state-run Atomstroyexport ZAO, and the Areva-MHI Atmea1 reactor,

The Middle Eastern nation, which relies almost entirely on energy imports, is expected to select a preferred bidder within the next 12 months.


ABB wins $8.3m GCC grid maintenance deal


ABB has agreed a service contract with the Gulf Cooperation Council Interconnection Authority (GCCIA) to provide maintenance for equipment and systems at the Gulf Interconnection Grid’s newly constructed substations.

The two-year contract between ABB and the GCCIA, which is worth $8.3m, will aim to optimize the grid’s reliability through regular maintenance, and provide technical and emergency assistance whenever it is required.

“We will provide round-the-clock support to the Interconnection Grid, including frequent substation visits for preventive maintenance and inspection as well as coordination with all suppliers for substation equipment,” said, Jalal Bageri, ABB’s Saudi Arabia country services manager.

Substations covered include: Al Fadhili, Ghunan, Salwa and Ras Al Qurayha in Saudi Arabia, Al Jasra in Bahrain, Al Zour in Kuwait and Doha South in Qatar.


Sudan to build three CSP plants in war-torn Darfur


Sudan has signed a €1.25bn ($1.53bn) deal with a private French company Solar Euromed to build three concentrating solar power (CSP) plants in the war-torn Darfur region. The project will target producing 2000 MW over the next ten years

“This is a vision in terms of producing electricity but also regarding the rural areas, the need for pumping water for agriculture and food,” the company CEO Marc Benmarraze told Reuters.

The plan is to build three solar power plants in each of the three Darfur states with a total capacity of 250 MW by 2013/2014.

Solar Euromed is in talks with European and Arab investors to fund the initial €1.25bn project, with €400-500m of capital, which would offer competitive returns.


Oman to select first solar plant site


Oman is expected to choose between four nominated sites for its first solar power project by the end of this month.

The plant will be a combination of photovoltaic (PV) and thermal solar power. Four possible sites have been identified as suitable for the use of PV solar, parabolic troughs and solar tower technology.

Oman’s Public Authority for Electricity & Water has been working on the project since appointing advisors in September 2009. Australia’s Worley Parsons and Macquarie Group, along with Chadbourne & Parke of the USA have been involved in assisting the Authority.

The project will have a capacity of between
500-100 MW and is the outcome of a ministerial committee that has been established to oversee the development of renewable energy in the Sultanate.


GDF SUEZ wins $1.7bn contract for new power stations in Oman


GDF SUEZ of France has been awarded a contract or the construction and operation of Barka 3 and Sohar 2, Oman’s next two independent power projects.

Barka 3 and Sohar 2 are greenfield gas fired power projects with a total capacity of approximately 1500 MW.

The total investment is around $1.7bn for both projects, in which GDF SUEZ will own a 46 per cent stake.

The electricity produced by each project will be sold under a 15-year power purchase agreement to the Oman Power and Water Procurement Company.


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