ACWA bids for $1bn Dubai solar project
London, UK - Solar plants that supply electricity at competitive prices after the sun goes down are about to become a reality in the Middle East, according to one of the region’s biggest developers of power plants.
ACWA Power International CEO Paddy Padmanathan confirmed his company is the low bidder on a US$1bn project that will feed electricity to the grid for the Dubai Water & Electricity Authority between 4pm and 10am. More such plants are likely to follow because Chinese companies will start driving down the cost of equipment, he said.
The 200MW Dubai contract, which runs for 25 years, will harness a two decade old technology called concentrated-solar, or solar thermal.
ACWA, which is based in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, bid 9.45 cents per kilowatt-hour, almost cutting in half the cost of concentrated-solar power. Each of the bidders were also asked to submit an alternative tender. The offtaker will choose between the bid and the alternative bid, so the price may be even lower.
ACWA has also built similar projects in Morocco’s Noor solar complex and South Africa’s desert. One in each nation are operating, with two more in Morocco and one in South Africa currently under development. ACWA is also seeking to build two more projects in Morocco in the Midelt area, which will have a joint capacity of 350MW.
“I’m also hoping to build one in Saudi,” Padmanathan said.