Saudis to Free Up More Crude for Export by Building Solar Power Plants

Saudi Arabia is seeking companies to build four solar power plants as the Persian Gulf oil giant resumes its renewable energy push.

The energy ministry is seeking bidders for the projects to build plants capable of generating a total of 1,200 megawatts of solar power, according to a statement from its Renewable Energy Project Development Office.

Saudi Arabia — the biggest producer in the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries — is turning to solar and wind power so it can burn less oil for electricity at home, freeing hundreds of thousands of barrels of crude for shipment abroad. The kingdom aims to build 60,000 megawatts of renewable energy plants by 2030, nearly as much as its total generation capacity now. The energy ministry will issue tenders for private companies to build about a third of that capacity and the sovereign wealth fund will find partners for the rest.

The ministry will seek qualifications from interested bidders by Feb. 6, and on March 19 it plans to issue a request for proposals to build the plants, according to the statement. The four plants make up the third round of tenders in the government’s renewable energy plan.


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