London — Saudi Arabia has awarded its first major onshore wind project to a consortium of EDF Renewables and Abu Dhabi's Masdar, the French state-owned utility said Friday.
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The 400 MW project at Dumat Al Jandal, 560 miles north of Riyadh, will be the largest in the Middle East, it said.
The $500 million project will have a 20-year power purchase agreement with the Saudi Power Procurement Company, a unit of Saudi utility SEC.
The project was awarded by the Renewable Energy Project Development Office at the Saudi Ministry of Energy, Industry and Mineral Resources following a call for tenders launched in August 2017.
The consortium submitted the most cost-competitive bid at a PPA of $21.3/MWh, it said.
Saudi utility ACWA, Italy's Enel and France-based Engie also submitted bids.
"The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia has set a clear energy strategy to substantially increase the share of renewables in its total energy mix to 10% by 2023," Masdar CEO Mohamed Jameel Al Ramahi said.
"This new project demonstrates our ambitions in the country and represents another step forward under the EDF Group's Cap 2030 strategy, which aims to double its renewable energy capacity by 2030 - both in France and worldwide - to 50 GW," EDF Renewables CEO Bruno Bensasson said.
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Both EDF Renewables and Masdar teams are already mobilized and construction works will start in a few months in the Al Jouf region of north-western Saudi Arabia, it said.
The project is 51%-owned by EDF Renewables and 49% by Masdar.
Dumat Al Jandal will connect to Saudi's s Northern grid and produce around 1.4 TWh/year, the ministry said previously.
The project falls under Saudi Arabia's National Renewable Energy Program which aims to support the construction of 3.45 GW of renewable energy capacity by 2020, equivalent to 4% of Saudi's total energy production, and 9.5 GW by 2023, equivalent to 10% of energy production.
Investment in the projects was expected to reach SR 60 billion ($16 billion).
Over 3 GW of this initial drive involves solar power and 800 MW wind.
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