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Deloitte: 'Lessons in Europe for Saudi's $200bn solar park'

Countries like Denmark, The Netherlands, and Germany excel at developing consortiums for windfarm construction, Deloitte Monitor Middle East's managing partner told CW

The capacity of Saudi's planned solar park is expected to exceed 200GW by 2030, making it the world's largest [representational image].
The capacity of Saudi's planned solar park is expected to exceed 200GW by 2030, making it the world's largest [representational image].

Saudi Arabia’s planned $200bn (SAR751bn) solar park megaproject could learn important lessons from how some Northern European countries have built, owned, and operated their wind warms.

“Saudi Arabia has until now never attempted something on this scale using public financing,” Bart Cornelissen, managing partner of Monitor Deloitte, Middle East, told Construction Week.

The kingdom's Solar Power Project 2030's capacity is expected to exceed 200GW by 2030 – making it the Middle East's, and the world's, largest solar park. 

Saudi’s Public Investment Fund (PIF) teamed up with Japanese conglomerate, Softbank, in March this year to develop the megaproject.

With the project's scale in mind, Cornelissen said building a consortium of stakeholders is the only way to ensure project costs are kept to a minimum, while also ensuring the field produces the cheapest possible renewable energy.

Aligning the goals of all stakeholders involved in a project this size is very difficult, he added, although not impossible.

READ: Work on Saudi-funded solar plant in Jordan to finish this June

"Saudi Arabia could learn, for example, a lot from how some countries in Northern Europe have approached consortia building when constructing their wind farms,” he explained.

"These projects have many different key stakeholders and participants."

For example, Cornelissen pointed out, one firm could build the concrete pylon, and another may develop the pole and mast. Yet another firm could supply the turbine, while more companies could be appointed to manage the infrastructure around delivery.

"Denmark, The Netherlands, and Germany have been very successful in making sure all these stakeholders come together successfully," he added.

READ: Saudi's Zahid Group acquires stake in German solar PV firm Greencells

“The Saudi government now has to properly look into how it’ll secure financing, how to develop the field, and how to operate and maintain a huge project like this, and whether it will be able to link to the country’s existing and planned energy infrastructure to it."

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Construction Week - Issue 751
Oct 13, 2019