Over the past few years, and in the wake of the Paris Agreement reached at COP21, we have observed countries in the Middle East and North Africa increasing their renewable energy targets for 2020 and 2030. This, together with the maturing of renewable technologies, and as countries seek to diversify their energy mix, has led to a sharp increase in the number of renewable projects, despite, in the case of oil producing countries, low fuel costs. In this inaugural “META Monthly: Renewables Update” we highlight major solar opportunities that are imminent in the Middle East and North Africa regions. Our next “Renewables Update” will focus on wind and other renewables areas.

Solar Opportunities

The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia

9.5GW of renewable capacity by 2030: Through its Vision 2030 plan and the National Transformation Program 2020, the Kingdom is targeting an additional 9.5GW of new renewable energy capacity by 2030. It is anticipated that a mix of solar PV, concentrated solar power (CSP), wind, and waste-to-energy projects will be developed over the coming years. In support of this target, King Abdullah City for Atomic & Renewable Energy (KA-Care) has issued a tender for technical, financial, and legal consultants to advise on 3.5GW of renewable projects targeted for 2020. Advisors have been invited to submit bids by mid-August 2016. For a commentary on the Kingdom’s Vision 2030 plan please see “A comprehensive renewable energy program for Saudi Vision 2030.”

Al-Jouf and Rafha solar projects: The Saudi Electricity Company has invited developers to submit prequalification entries by August 4, 2016 for contracts to develop two 50 MW solar PV plants at Al-Jouf and Rafha in northern Saudi Arabia.

Kuwait

Shagaya renewable energy park: The Ministry of Electricity & Water (MEW) has forecast that Kuwait will require an additional 17GW of electricity generating capacity by 2030. In addition, Kuwait has set a targeted of producing 15 percent of its energy from renewable sources by 2030. MEW, in partnership with the Kuwait Institute for Scientific Research (KIR), has already awarded contracts for 60MWs of solar projects at its Shagaya site. Ultimately the Shagaya site is expected to produce in excess of 1.1GW of CSP and 700MW of PV.

Al-Abdaliyah integrated power plant: Outside of the Shagaya site, MEW in partnership with the Kuwait Authority for Partnership Projects (KAPP), is developing the 280MW Al-Abdaliyah integrated power plant, of which a 60MW will be from solar energy. Seven groups of developers have been prequalified and bids are expected on October 10, 2016.

Dubai 

5GW Mohammed bin Rashid Al-Maktoum (MBR) solar park: Dubai’s Strategic Plan 2021 and the Dubai Integrated Energy Strategy 2030 commits the Emirate to target 25 percent of its electricity production from renewable sources by 2030. This target is set to be achieved through the MBR solar park, which is in its third phase of development, following the selection of a preferred bidder in late June 2016 by the Dubai Electricity & Water Authority’s (DEWA) to develop 800MW of solar PV capacity.

1,000MW of CSP capacity: DEWA has set a target of developing 1,000MW of CSP capacity by 2030. The first 200MW CSP project has commenced with DEWA receiving formal bids on July 20, 2016 from four international financial services firms to provide advisory services on the project.

Abu Dhabi

350MW Sweihan solar PV: Abu Dhabi Water & Electricity Authority (ADWEA) has pre-qualified 34 companies for its 350MW solar PV park in Sweihan. The bid submission deadline is set for September 19, 2016.

Morocco

Morocco’s 2020 renewable energy target: Morocco has set an ambitious target of 42 percent of power generation to come from renewable sources by 2020 with this figure raising to 50 percent by 2030. The Moroccan Agency for Solar Energy’s (MASEN) solar plan aims to install 2,000MW of solar energy, both CSP and PV, by 2020. The first stages are underway in the form of the Ouarzazate solar program, in which Acwa Power completed the 160MW Noor 1 CSP project in March 2016, and are leading a consortium to develop the 200MW Noor 2 and 150MW Noor 3 CSP projects which are due to be commissioned in 2018. In addition, final bids have been received for NOOR PV1, which comprises of three PV projects, with financial close being targeted by the end of this year.

400MW Noor Midelt solar project: MASEN launched expressions of interest in late December 2015. The project will consist of both CSP (80-85 percent) and PV (15-20 percent) technologies, and will be developed over a two-phase RFP process, with the first RFPs expected in Q3 of 2016 and the second RFPs in Q2 2017. 

400MW Noor Tata solar project: MASEN is expected to launch expressions of interest later this year for the development of the 400MW CSP and PV plant.

200MW Noor Atlas solar project: The pre-qualification tender for the 200MW solar complex was expected to open at the start of 2016. However, it is now expected to launch in the second half of 2016. The 200MW complex will comprise eight solar PV plants of 10MW to 30MW each in the southern region of Morocco.

200MW Noor Argana solar project: The Moroccan electricity and water utility company ONEE has indicated that the pre-qualification tender for the 200MW solar PV plant will be issued at the end of 2016 or at the start of 2017, with commissioning scheduled to commence in 2018.

Jordan

2,000MW of renewable capacity: Jordan’s National Energy Strategy has set a target of 2,000MW of renewable power capacity by 2020. The first round of PV solar projects have already concluded, with the second round consisting of three 50MW PV projects scheduled for financial close in September 2016. 

Egypt

Renewable feed-in tariff: Egypt’s New & Renewable Energy Authority (NREA) has allocated 39 plots of land for developers to carry out renewable projects under a feed-in tariff programme. Thirty-one solar PV plots are located in Benban and Zafarana with a capacity of 1,220MW. Round one has commenced with the Egyptian Electricity Holding Company confirming that 11 developers will aim to reach financial close by October 2016. The second round of the scheme is expected to commence soon, however, Egypt’s Council of Ministers has yet to approve the tariff or conditions for participation in round two.

Oman

200MW solar project: Oman is set to release a tender for its 200MW solar project later this year. It is understood that the project will consist of a combination of CSP and PV technologies and be located in the Dakhiliyah Governorate.