Saudi Arabia today launched the first stage of its ambitious renewables tenders which includes 400 MW of wind projects and 300 MW of solar plants.

The kingdom plans to achieve 3.45 GW of renewables by 2020 and 9.5 GW by 2023.

Khalid Al-Falih, Minister of Energy, Industry, and Mineral Resources, said that today’s first requests for qualifications “marks the starting point of a long and sustained programme of renewable energy deployment in Saudi Arabia, that will not only diversify our power mix but also catalyse economic development and support long-term prosperity”.

Successful pre-qualified bidders will enter into the Round 1 stage due to launch on April 17, with the requests for qualifications process expected to close in July.

Al-Falih added that Saudi Arabia wanted the renewables programme to be “among the most attractive, competitive and well-executed government renewable energy investment programmes in the world, and we have all the necessary infrastructure in place to ensure that is the case”.

The sites selected for Round 1 include Sakaka, in the Al Jouf Province, where the 300 MW of solar PV will be developed, and Midyan, in the Tabuk Province, for the 400 MW wind project.

The projects will be backed by 25-year power purchase agreements for solar PV and 20-year PPAs for wind.

Both sites have undergone full pre-development work.

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