Saudi group close to winning $500m solar contractby John Bambridge on Jul 17, 2012
A consortium led by Saudi International Company for Water and Power (Acwa) is close to winning a contract worth at least $500m to build a new 160MW concentrated solar power (CSP) plant located in the south of Morocco.
Acwa has teamed up with Spanish engineering firm Aries IS and TSK EE to design, finance, construct, operate and maintain the plant near the southern city of Ouarzazate.
"We are going to opt for the offer made by the consortium of Acwa," said an anonymous source familiar with the discussions about the contract, to Reuters.
The official announcement form Morocco's solar energy agency MASEN is still pending.
The deal would make Morocco Acwa’s 5th international market, and its 2nd in Africa after it secured a 50MW contract to build a CSP plant in Bokpoort, South Africa in May.
Abu Dhabi’s national energy company TAQA also bid for the contract in a rival bidding group together with Abeinsa ICI, Abengoa Solar and Mitsui.
The contract for the 160MW plant will be the first to be awarded by Morocco’s Masen agency under the so-called Moroccan Solar Plan that aims to attract investments worth $9bn to produce two gigawatts of solar power by 2020, or 38% of the country's current installed power generation capacity.
Morocco’s solar plan includes a total of five power stations including Ouarzazate, with others at Taza, Tetouan, and Tangier, as well as at Laayoune in the disputed Western Sahara.
MASEN is also due to launch a further two 50MW tenders for Ouarzazate, one for a photovoltaic module and another for a CSP, both due to be completed by 2015, according to president Mustafa Bakkoury.
ACWA plans to make solar developments up to 5% of its business over the next two years.
Saudi Arabia is planning 41GW of solar power itself by 2032, or a third of domestic consumption, and has $109bn slated for the work.
In line with this goal, Saudi-Korean JV PTC signed a $380m EPC contract in February to Hyundai to build the first polysilicon refinery in Saudi Arabia at Jubail.
The first phase of the project, to produce 3,350 tonnes of solar grade polysiliscon, will be up and running by the first quarter of 2014, according to executive director Ibrahim al-Humaidan.
When all three phases of the project are complete by 2017, at a cost of around $1.2-1.5bn, the polysilicon capacity of the plant is expected to rise to 12,000 tonnes.
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