A large number of project developers have shown interest in the upcoming 2 gigawatt tender in Abu Dhabi, likely setting the stage for yet another record-breaking tariff bid.
Reuters recently reported that 48 companies submitted responses to the expression of interest issued by the Emirates Water and Electricity Company (EWEC) — the power and water utility that services Abu Dhabi — to set up a 2 gigawatt solar power project. The project is planned to be implemented at Al Dhafra, around 50 kilometers from Abu Dhabi.
A spokesperson of the EWEC told Reuters that of the 48 companies responding to the EoI, only 24 have pre-qualified for participation in the actual tender process. These pre-qualified companies now have until the end of this year to submit their technical and financial bids to set up the project. As has been the case earlier, in Abu Dhabi as well as Dubai, the entire project would likely be awarded to a single bidder.
The project shall be executed by a new company, a 40% stake of which shall be owned by successful bidder(s) while the balance shall be owned by the EWEC. This is the same implementation structure that was followed for the execution of the Noor Abu Dhabi solar PV project now operational at Sweihan, 100 kilometers from Abu Dhabi.
The Noor Abu Dhabi project was allocated in September 2016 following a reverse auction to the consortium of Marubeni Corporation and JinkoSolar. The project was recently commissioned, making it the largest single-site solar power plant in the world with an installed capacity of 1,177 megawatts.
The new project is expected to be commissioned by the first quarter of 2022 taking operational solar power capacity in Abu Dhabi to more than 3.2 gigawatts. Apart from the Noor Abu Dhabi project, the emirate also hosts a 100 megawatt concentrated solar power project, one of the largest in Asia.
Competing with Abu Dhabi to fulfill an ambitious ‘Energy Strategy 2050’ announced by UAE in 2017 is Dubai. The neighboring emirate is working on the famous Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum Solar Park and has allocated 1.95 gigawatts of solar PV and concentrated solar power capacity so far. Dubai aims to increase the operational capacity at the solar park to 5 gigawatts by 2030. Dubai, too, had floated an EoI for 900-megawatt solar PV project at the solar park which received responses from 64 companies.
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